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S. Korea, Japan to hold director-general talks this week ahead of planned GSOMIA expiry

Diplomacy 18:03 November 14, 2019

By Song Sang-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan will hold working-level diplomatic talks this week ahead of the planned expiration of a military intelligence-sharing agreement between the two countries, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.

Kim Jung-han, director-general for Asian and Pacific affairs at the ministry, will travel to Tokyo later in the day for talks with his Japanese counterpart, Shigeki Takizaki, scheduled for Friday.

His trip comes as the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), a rare case of security collaboration between South Korea and its onetime colonizer, Japan, is set to expire on Nov. 23 unless Seoul revokes its decision to end the accord.

Washington has been heaping pressure on Seoul to retract its decision on the military pact, which it regards as a symbolic yet crucial framework to foster America's trilateral security cooperation with its two Asian allies.

Seoul announced the decision in August after Tokyo imposed new export curbs seen as political retaliation for last year's Korean Supreme Court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate victims of forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

Seoul maintains that it can reconsider whether to end GSOMIA if Tokyo first revokes its export restrictions.

To address the dispute, Seoul has put forward the so-called one-plus-one proposal under which South Korean and Japanese firms would create a joint fund to compensate the victims of forced labor, and has said that it remains open to complementing the proposal through bilateral consultations.

But Tokyo opposes any deal that would involve Japanese firms based on its claim that all reparation issues stemming from its colonial rule were settled under a 1965 accord aimed at normalizing bilateral relations.

This photo, taken on July 11, 2019, shows Kim Jung-han, director-general for Asian and Pacific affairs at the foreign ministry, preparing to depart for Tokyo at Gimpo International Airport, western Seoul. (Yonhap)


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