Vice FM asks U.S. to refrain from public messaging against Seoul’s GSOMIA decision

SEOUL-- South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young on Wednesday asked the United States to refrain from public messaging against Seoul's recent decision to terminate a military information-sharing pact with Japan, a source here said.

Cho met with U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris to make the request as Washington has repeatedly expressed disappointment and concerns in a rare public rebuke of Seoul's decision to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

Amid a row over trade and wartime history with Tokyo, Seoul announced the decision last Thursday to withdraw from GSOMIA, which is seen as a rare platform to promote the two countries' trilateral defense cooperation with their mutual ally, Washington.

During his talks with Harris, Cho pointed out that Washington's open, repeated messages against Seoul's decision would not be helpful in strengthening the bilateral alliance and that Seoul is fully aware of the U.S. position on the matter, the source said.

In a press release, the foreign ministry said that Cho told Harris that Seoul's decision on GSOMIA has nothing to do with the South Korea-U.S. alliance and that it will continue to maintain trilateral security cooperation with the U.S. and Japan and strive to further develop the bilateral alliance with Washington.

Washington has expressed "strong concern" and "disappointment" over Seoul's move to end GSOMIA, raising concerns about an apparent deterioration of the long-standing partnership between the allies.

Earlier this week, Morgan Ortagus, the spokeswoman of the U.S. State Department, even tweeted that the termination of GSOMIA will make defending Korea more complicated and increase risk to U.S. forces.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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