U.S. expresses disappointment over S. Korea's decision to withdraw from military information sharing pact with Japan
Updated: 2019-08-23 16:23:40 KST
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he's disappointed with Seoul's decision after South Korea announced it was withdrawing from its military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement or GSOMIA.
"We are disappointed to see the decision that the South Koreans made about that information sharing agreement. We were urging each of the two countries to continue to engage to continue to have dialogue."
At a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart in Ottawa on Thursday, Pompeo said there's no doubt the shared interests of South Korea and Japan are important to the U.S.
Pompeo said he hopes the two countries can begin to put their relationship back in "exactly the right place."
The Pentagon also voiced its worries.
According to Seoul's Defense Ministry, Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo held phone talks with his U.S. counterpart Mark Esper on Friday morning.
Jeong explained the reasons behind South Korea's decision like Tokyo's "insincere responses" to Seoul's efforts to mend ties through dialogue.
Esper expressed his concern and stressed the importance of the continued security cooperation among the three countries.
Pentagon Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Dave Eastburn said the Pentagon expresses "strong concern and disappointment that the Moon administration has withheld its renewal" of the military intelligence-sharing agreement with Tokyo.
Eastburn also said the U.S. believes the integrity of the three countries' mutual defense and security ties "must persist" despite frictions in other areas of the South Korea-Japan relationship.
He added the U.S. will continue to pursue bilateral and trilateral defense and security cooperation with the two nations.
On Thursday, South Korea's top office announced its decision to withdraw from the intel-sharing pact with Japan.
Seoul's decision means the agreement will end in November.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News.