Blue House says GSOMIA termination will proceed unless Japan withdraws export controls

Posted on : 2019-11-14 16:45 KST Modified on : 2019-11-14 16:52 KST
Visits from US security officials seems to have no effect on decision
The Blue House
The Blue House

With several key US national security figures voicing concerns about South Korea and Japan’s General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) ending in 10 days, the Blue House stated that it plans to allow the agreement to end as scheduled unless Japan moves to withdraw its export controls.

“[The decision to end] GSOMIA isn’t something that is going to [be withdrawn] just because US foreign affairs and national security officials come and talk to us. The matter was already discussed with the US before we announced the termination of GSOMIA,” a Blue House senior official said on Nov. 13.

“At the moment, there isn’t any solution that would be satisfactory to [both] Japan and South Korea. That means GSOMIA is going to have to end,” the official added.

During a press conference by the presidential chief of staff, the director of the National Security Office, and the chief of staff for policy on Nov. 10, the Blue House made clear that it has no intention of extending GSOMIA. “GSOMIA is an issue for South Korea and Japan to resolve, an issue that’s completely unrelated to the South Korea-US alliance,” said National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong.

Even so, the Blue House has been disturbed to see this issue provoking accusations about cracks forming in the alliance. That’s also why the government is stressing that it has adequately discussed the GSOMIA termination with the US.

Blue House says that S. Korea’s position already fully conveyed

The Blue House explained that the South Korean government’s position was fully conveyed during a meeting between Kim Hyun-chong, second deputy chief of the National Security Office; David Stilwell, US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs; and Robert Abrams, commander of US Forces Korea, on Nov. 6. According to the Blue House, the meeting — which lasted for 70 minutes, longer than planned — featured “concrete, constructive, and future-oriented deliberations between our two countries on issues affecting our alliance.”

The Blue House thinks that figures from the US State Department have an ulterior motivation for their repeated references to GSOMIA. One idea is that the US is attempting to use the GSOMIA issue as leverage in its negotiations to boost South Korea’s contribution to the cost of maintaining an American troop presence in the country.

“They didn’t talk specifically about how much more they expect us to contribute during their visit to South Korea. But the main purpose of their visit was obviously to arrange for a larger contribution,” said a senior official at the Blue House.

By Lee Wan, staff reporter

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