Ex-U.S. nuke envoy calls for U.S. engagement in GSOMIA breakdown

SEOUL-- South Korea's decision to end a military information-sharing deal with Japan is expected to have a "very negative" effect on the alliance between Seoul and Washington, a former senior U.S. official said Tuesday, calling for active U.S. involvement in the issue.

Joseph Yun, former U.S. special representative for North Korea, made the remark on the sidelines of a health forum in Seoul, saying the United States is "angry" with the decision to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

"I think (there will be a) very negative effect without question. To me, really the responsibility is on both (Shinzo) Abe and Presidents Moon (Jae-in) and Donald Trump. All three of them," Yun said. "They have mismanaged it very, very badly, and this is the result."

Yun said the only way to resolve the issue is for Washington to "intervene very heavily."

The GSOMIA decision came amid a deepening row between Seoul and Tokyo over trade issues stemming from differences over wartime forced labor. The decision was seen as the strongest reaction yet by Seoul to Japan's economic retaliation to remove Seoul from its trusted trade partners.

Yun, who served as the chief nuclear envoy from Oct. 2016 to March 2018, also said that the U.S. needs to show North Korea that there is room for sanctions relief if it wants to resume the long-stalled denuclearization negotiations.

The North's recent series of missile launches appear to be aimed at pressuring Trump, he said.

"Trump considers North Korea to be a very important issue for him, so North Korea wants to squeeze him as much as they can, which is why we've seen so many missile tests recently," Yun said. "I really do think Trump has to adjust, show them more that there is room for sanctions relief before North Korea will agree to come to talk."

Nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang remain deadlocked after the Hanoi summit of their leaders collapsed without a deal in February. They failed to close the gap over the scope of the North's denuclearization and sanctions relief by Washington.

Hopes for a restart to the talks have grown as Trump and leader Kim Jong-un met at the inter-Korean border on June 30 and agreed to resume working-level talks in several weeks. But the talks have not taken place.

North Korea has instead carried out several test-firings of missiles -- seven launches since the June 30 meeting -- and what it claims to be tests of new weapons systems, casting a pall on the future of the negotiations.

Yun remained doubtful that the talks could resume before the end of this year.

"Maybe, I think maybe. Things look difficult before they happen."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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