Japan, S.korea Remain Apart Over Gsomia

Japan, S.Korea remain apart over GSOMIA

Japan and South Korea have been unable to break a deadlock over a bilateral intelligence-sharing agreement.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono and his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, met on Sunday in Bangkok on the sidelines of a regional forum.

The focus of the meeting was the agreement known as GSOMIA. It is due to expire on November 23, after Seoul decided not to extend the pact in the face of worsening bilateral ties over wartime and trade issues.

Kono described the security environment in East Asia as tense because of North Korea's repeated ballistic missile tests. He said collaboration between Japan and South Korea, as well as between those two countries and the United States, is crucial.

Kono urged South Korea to make what he called a wise response regarding GSOMIA.

Jeong said it's regrettable that bilateral relations have become deadlocked over various issues.

He said he hopes he and Kono will work together to promote bilateral relations and defense cooperation.

But he reiterated South Korea's position on the intelligence-sharing pact.

The two ministers reaffirmed the importance of bilateral and trilateral cooperation, and agreed to maintain communication between defense officials.

Kono later told reporters that it is crucial to maintain good relations between defense authorities, and added that he hopes that they will stay in close touch.