S. Korea to fully review 'strategic value' of intel-sharing pact with Japan: ministry
SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will take the strategic value of a military information-sharing pact with Japan into full consideration when determining whether to renew the agreement, the defense ministry said Thursday.
The government is widely expected to announce whether to scrap or retain the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) as early as Thursday, two days before the deadline for possible objections to its automatic one-year extension.
For the final review, the standing committee of the presidential National Security Council (NSC) is scheduled to hold a meeting later in the day, with President Moon Jae-in expected to make a final decision.
"The government will determine our position after fully considering its strategic value and other factors," defense ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun-soo told a regular briefing.
The ministry had said it sees "no major problems" in extending the bilateral pact that aims to exchange confidential military information to better counter evolving nuclear and missile threats from North Korea until mid-July despite deteriorated bilateral ties following Japan's export curbs on South Korea, which were announced earlier that month.
But it pledged to review the propriety of the pact and has hinted at its abrogation, after Tokyo upped the stakes in the trade dispute by dropping South Korea as a trusted trading partner in August.
Many have speculated that Seoul will not scrap the agreement to continue intelligence cooperation with Japan, as well as for the trilateral security ties involving the United States.
"But as of now, it is quite hard to predict the conclusion," a ministry official said. "The government is deliberating on the matter while taking a wide spectrum of related factors into consideration from its military usefulness to public sentiment."
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