S. Korea officially notifies Japan of intent to end military pact

August 23, 2019

South Korea’s foreign ministry called in Japan’s top envoy in Seoul on Friday to officially notify Tokyo of its intent to end a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact.

First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young gave Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Yasumasa Nagamine a note verbale, a diplomatic document, to formally express Seoul’s intent to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

But the two sides shared the view that it is important to continue diplomatic dialogue between them to help resolve their issues, the foreign ministry here said in a press release.

On Thursday, Seoul announced its decision to withdraw from GSOMIA, citing a “grave change” in security cooperation conditions between the two countries, amid a rancorous row over wartime history and Tokyo’s recent export curbs.

In a rare public rebuke, Washington expressed “strong concern” and “disappointment” over Seoul’s decision.

Seoul and Tokyo signed GSOMIA in 2016 amid apparent encouragement by Washington, which has been striving to solidify its regional alliance cooperation network in the face of an assertive China and nuclear threats from North Korea.

GSOMIA was seen as a rare case of security cooperation between Seoul and Tokyo, which have long been mired in seemingly endless territorial and historical feuds stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula.

In a separate statement, the foreign ministry reiterated that the decision to end GSOMIA was separate from the South Korea-U.S. alliance and that the allies’ combined defense readiness posture will remain firm.

It added that Seoul will continue to pursue security cooperation with Washington and Tokyo to cope with nuclear and missile threats from the North and do its best to minimize the impact of its withdrawal from GSOMIA on trilateral cooperation efforts through close consultation with the U.S.