Esper "Disappointed" at Escalating Japan-S. Korea Dispute


Washington, Aug. 28 (Jiji Press)--U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday expressed his disappointment at a spat between Japan and South Korea that escalated to a point where Seoul decided to scrap an intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.

"I remain very disappointed," Esper told a press conference. Last week, South Korea decided not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, which plays a role in the three-way security cooperation among the two Asian countries and the United States.

Esper stressed the importance of unity among the United States, Japan and South Korea, citing that the three face common threats such as China and North Korea.

"I am hopeful they will get beyond this (problem)," Esper added.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the press conference, "I haven't seen an impact (of the row) on military operations right now."

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Jiji Press