Seoul Likely to Make Final Decision on GSOMIA with Japan Thurs.

Politics

Seoul, Nov. 20 (Jiji Press)--The South Korean government is expected to hold a standing committee meeting of its National Security Council on Thursday to reach a final conclusion on the handling of its military information-sharing pact with Japan, which is set to expire soon following Seoul's decision in August not to renew it.

The South Korean side is approaching Japan in an effort to prevent the bilateral General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, from lapsing, some sources said, adding that government officials of the two countries may be holding eleventh-hour talks behind the scenes. Following the August decision, the Japan-South Korea GSOMIA is set to expire at midnight Friday (3 p.m. GMT).

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on television Tuesday he will make efforts with Japan until the very last moment to keep the pact in place. At the same time, however, Moon reiterated Seoul's position that it will not review the decision to scrap the pact unless Tokyo ends its tightening of export controls on South Korea.

Some diplomatic sources in Seoul are now hoping that the two governments will agree to provisionally extend the GSOMIA expiration date. But some say that the South Korean side may find it difficult to make concessions after high-ranking Japanese officials, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the country's top government spokesman, have urged Seoul to act wisely over the matter.

On Friday and Saturday, the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies, including the two East Asian countries, are scheduled to hold a meeting of their foreign ministers in the central Japan city of Nagoya. But the South Korean government has yet to announce the participation by its foreign minister, Kang Kyung-wha, in the gathering, apparently as part of its bargaining strategy.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press