Trump says will ‘see what happens’ with end of Seoul-Tokyo intel-sharing deal

SEOUL-- U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will see "what happens" regarding South Korea's decision to pull out from a military intelligence-sharing deal with Japan, referring to South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as his good friends.

Asked about Seoul's decision Thursday to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) amid a bilateral dispute over trade and history, Trump told reporters, "We are going to see what happens."

He made the remarks on Friday (Washington time) before departing for the Group of Seven talks in France. On a separate question, Trump said he is looking forward to meeting Abe there, describing the Japanese leader as "a great gentleman" and "a great friend" of his.

"President Moon is also a very good friend of mine. We will see what happens with South Korea," Trump told reporters, according to a video released by the cable channel C-Span.

The United States has expressed "strong concern" and "disappointment" over Seoul's latest decision, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the two countries to "engage, to continue to have dialogue."

The termination of GSOMIA marks the culmination of a spat that began with Japan's decision to curb exports of sensitive materials to South Korea in early July.

Seoul denounced the move as retaliation for a South Korean court ruling that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of forced labor during Tokyo's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

The dispute escalated with Japan's delisting in August of South Korea from a list of trusted trading partners and Seoul's tit-for-tat action to remove Tokyo from its own list.

GSOMIA, which was signed in 2016, is now set to expire in November, raising concerns about effective three-way cooperation against North Korea's nuclear threats and China's growing military assertiveness.

The pact would have renewed automatically Sunday, as each side is bound by a three-month window to inform the other of any intent to withdraw.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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