Trump, Abe note importance of trilateral cooperation with S. Korea

WASHINGTON-- U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted the importance of trilateral security cooperation with South Korea during their talks in New York Wednesday, the White House said.

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Trump and Abe discussed issues of mutual interest and signed a preliminary bilateral trade agreement.

The White House did not elaborate on the discussions on South Korea, but the two leaders are likely to have touched on Seoul's decision to pull out of a military intelligence-sharing pact with Tokyo.

"President Trump and Prime Minister Abe also noted the importance of trilateral security cooperation between the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea," it said in a readout.

Washington voiced disappointment and concern after South Korea decided last month to withdraw from the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) amid tensions over trade and wartime history disputes.

The U.S. has urged South Korea to reconsider before the pact expires in November, citing the potential negative impact on trilateral security cooperation against North Korea's nuclear threats and China's military rise.

Trump and Abe also discussed "affairs with respect to Iran and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," the White House said, referring to North Korea.

Washington has sought to facilitate dialogue between its two allies, but faced calls to play a more active role to resolve the dispute.

When asked about the Seoul-Tokyo row after Japan adopted export controls against the South in July, Trump said, "If they need me, I'm there."

Meanwhile, Seoul's presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, said earlier that there was no discussion of GSOMIA or South Korea-Japan relations during Monday's talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Trump in New York.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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