U.S. expresses displeasure over S. Korean assertion on intel pact with Japan: source

WASHINGTON-- The United States has expressed its displeasure to South Korea for alleging that Washington "understood" its decision to withdraw from a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, a U.S. government source said Thursday.

The U.S. has filed a complaint with South Korean officials in Seoul and Washington over the assertion, "in addition to expressing our unhappiness with the actual decision," the source told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.

"We are especially unhappy that the South Korean government is saying it had U.S. understanding. Not true," the source said.

In response, the South Koreans "repeated their claim that they consulted with us, but never once did they have our 'understanding,'" the source added.

Earlier in Seoul, a South Korean presidential official told reporters that Washington expressed its understanding of South Korea's decision to withdraw from the General Security of Military Information Agreement in light of Japan's export curbs against the South.

GSOMIA's termination marks the culmination of a spat that began with Japan's decision to tighten controls on 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.

Washington has continued to encourage its two allies to find a solution while stating its readiness to facilitate dialogue between them.

Asked if the U.S. planned to get involved in light of the new development, the source said, "We are already involved, just not publicly."

The U.S. continues to urge dialogue between the two, the source said.

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.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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