Seoul Decides to Extend GSOMIA with Japan at Last Minute

Politics

Seoul, Nov. 22 (Jiji Press)--The South Korean government on Friday announced a policy of effectively extending its military information-sharing agreement with Japan, hours before its scheduled expiration following Seoul's earlier decision to scrap the pact.

The government said it suspends the validity of its notice to Japan on the decision to scrap the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA, on the assumption that it is possible to let the pact expire any time.

"Cooperation between Japan and South Korea and among the two Asian neighbors plus the United States is extremely important for dealing with North Korea," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo on Friday, in response to the latest South Korean decision. "South Korea apparently made the decision to extend the pact from such a strategic point of view."

Seoul will also put on hold procedures for a complaint it filed with the World Trade Organization against Japan's tightened controls on semiconductor materials exports to South Korea, introduced in July, as long as bilateral dialogue continues.

Frustrated at the Japanese action in July, South Korea in August decided not to renew the GSOMIA and informed the decision to Japan. Following the August decision, the GSOMIA, concluded in 2016, was to expire at midnight Friday (3 p.m. GMT). But the Japanese and South Korean governments continued last-minute talks and successfully prevented the pact from expiring, at least for now.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press