‘Fantastic discussions’ with S. Korea on GSOMIA: senior U.S. diplomat

SEOUL-- The top American diplomat for East Asia said Wednesday that he had "fantastic discussions" with South Korean officials amid speculation that the meetings likely were focused on a soon-to-expire military-information-sharing pact between Seoul and Tokyo.

Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell made the remark upon arrival at the defense ministry when a reporter asked if he had discussed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) during the meetings with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Vice Foreign Minister Cho Se-young earlier in the day.

"We had fantastic discussions today and on topics of agreements, especially after the event this week in Bangkok at the EAS, so very positive," Stilwell said, referring to the East Asia Summit earlier this week.

On the sidelines of the EAS, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a brief one-on-one meeting. Earlier in the day, Stilwell told reporters that the meeting between Moon and Abe was an "encouraging" sign in fence-mending efforts between Seoul and Tokyo.

GSOMIA is to expire on Nov. 23, as South Korea in August announced the decision to terminate the intelligence-sharing pact in response to Japan's new export curbs seen as political retaliation for last year's Korean Supreme Court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of wartime forced labor.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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