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(LEAD) S. Korea may review military info-sharing pact with Japan: Cheong Wa Dae official

All Headlines 21:14 July 18, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with Cheong Wa Dae's explanation, other details from 5th para)

SEOUL, July 18 (Yonhap) -- A senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Thursday South Korea will review whether to renew a pact with Japan on sharing military information, if needed, according to a politician here.

"For now, (the government) has a position to maintain it. It can be reconsidered in accordance with (relevant) situations," Chung Eui-yong, director of Cheong Wa Dae's national security office, was quoted by Rep. Sim Sang-jung, head of the progressive Justice Party.

Chung was speaking on the government's response to Japan's tougher export restrictions against South Korea during a closed-door meeting between President Moon Jae-in and the leaders of five major political parties, including Sim.

Sim told reporters that she raised the issue of the bilateral General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in the meeting.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung, later reaffirmed that the government's current position is to keep GSOMIA.

Chung's remark was a "principled" one that Seoul can review what to do in case of a change in the situations, she said in a text message to media. She was apparently referring to the worst-case scenario of a failure to resolve the row diplomatically and a full-blown trade war.

In November 2016, Seoul and Tokyo signed GSOMIA, which enables them to share confidential military information. The agreement is mainly aimed at more effectively countering nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. It's a key to trilateral security cooperation with the United States, which is an ally to both South Korea and Japan.

The hard-won accord is supposed be automatically renewed every year unless either party notifies the other of its intention to terminate the agreement 90 days ahead of the end of a one-year period.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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