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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 21 - 27  > End of Japan-ROK GSOMIA represents worsening in bilateral relations
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2019 August 21 - 27 [POLITICS]

End of Japan-ROK GSOMIA represents worsening in bilateral relations

August 23, 2019
The government of the Republic of Korea on August 22 announced its decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan. The Blue House cited that Tokyo’s move to tighten controls on exports to the nation has gravely affected bilateral security cooperation, and explained that it scrapped the GSOMIA in order to counter Japan’s measure removing the nation from its “white list” of favorable trade partners.

The reason the current situation developed is because the Japanese government refused to take seriously South Korea’s top court decision in favor of victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor and used trade matters as a means to settle the political dispute regarding the wartime “forced laborer” issue in violation of the principle of the separation of politics and economics.

South Korea’s latest decision indicates that the Abe government’s retaliatory measures has adversely affected not only business, tourism, and culture exchanges but also relations in the military field.

GSOMIA is a bilateral military intelligence-sharing pact designed to prevent information leakage to third-party nations. The Japan-ROK GSOMIA was concluded in November 2016 in line with the U.S. demand to integrate the two nations into the U.S.-led missile defense network and establish military dominance in Northeast Asia.

It was reported that given the GSOMIA with Japan involves trilateral relations with the U.S., the South Korean government would limit the operations of the pact after renewing it. However, Soul decided to abolish the bilateral accord by saying that it is unfit for national interests.

What is necessary for improving future Japan-South Korea relations is to correct the situation through dialogue in a cool-headed manner. No matter what happens, the two governments should maintain contact through diplomatic channels.

Past related article:
> Abe gov’t drops South Korea from ‘white list’ of preferential trade partners [August 3, 2019]

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