President Moon Jae-in has reiterated to the U.S. that South Korea cannot continue to exchange military intelligence with Japan, especially when Japan expressed distrust toward South Korea citing security flaws.
According to Blue House Spokesperson Ko Min-jung, the president's remark comes from his 50-minute talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior officials at the presidential office on Friday.
President Moon made it clear that the military pact, GSOMIA, cannot be maintained without a change in Japan's attitude, likely meaning the end of Tokyo's export curbs on Seoul.
However, he said he will continue to work towards maintaining trilateral cooperation, among South Korea, U.S, and Japan, underscoring how important it is to work together in regards to the region's security and stability.
The Pentagon chief said he will ask Tokyo for its efforts to resolve the issue.
Although it appears that GSOMIA will indeed be terminated, a senior Blue House official says the two sides are keeping the door open for the possibility of renewing it, agreeing on the need to continue diplomatic efforts.
With a week remaining until its due expiration, the official says the presidential office is still hoping for an improvement in the situation.
South Korea and the U.S. also agreed to maintain their close cooperation regarding efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.
As part of such efforts, President Moon positively viewed Esper's remarks the previous day, that Seoul and Washington are open to reducing the scale of their upcoming joint military exercises.
It had also been speculated that the president could hold talks over how much South Korea should pay for the stationing of U.S. troops in the country, but the spokesperson said the topic was not brought up during the meeting.
Park Hee-jun, Arirang News.