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[Newsmaker] Defense Ministry says Korea-US alliance remains strong

Seoul’s Defense Ministry maintained Thursday that it was closely working with the United States, following the remarks by US defense leaders expressing disappointment over South Korea’s decision to withdraw from an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.

The United States has been vocally critical of South Korea’s decision to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan. 

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo (Yonhap)
Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo (Yonhap)

“As we have told you before, defense minister and the US Secretary of Defense Esper spoke about termination of GSOMIA over the phone, and I am informed that they fully discussed the matter,” Choi Hyun-soo, Defense Ministry spokeswoman said during the regular briefing.

Choi also said that that there is not much difference between the US and South Korea in their perspectives on security, when she was asked about remarks by Randall Schriver, the US assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs.

“South Korea and the United States are closely working together. Because we are discussing detailed agendas, I do not believe there is much difference (in stance),” Choi said.

Schriver said Wednesday that the US was not forewarned of South Korea’s decision to pull out of GSOMIA with Japan, and called on Seoul to recommit to GSOMIA and renew the agreement.

Schriver said that while Seoul and Washington held consultations ahead of last week’s announcement, “in terms of the actual decision to not renew, we were not forewarned.”

The US has previously aired its grievances over South Korea’s assertion that Washington had expressed its understanding of Seoul’s decision.

GSOMIA is set to expire in late November.

By Jo He-rim (