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Former USFK commanders stress need to maintain Seoul-Tokyo intel-sharing pact

Defense 16:03 November 14, 2019

SEOUL, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- Former U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) commanders emphasized the need on Thursday to maintain the military information sharing pact between South Korea and Japan, which is set to expire next week, a veterans association here said.

Four former commanders -- Curtis Scaparrotti, James Thurman, Walter Sharp, and John Tilelli -- made the point during their visit to the Korea Veterans Association in Seoul, along with former deputy commanders of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command (CFC).

"(The commanders) shared the notion that GSOMIA is definitely necessary, because as a symbol of the trilateral security system among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, it not only serves as a driving force that supports the government's policy for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but is also a significant military pact necessary for troop deployment in the event of war," the association said in a release.

The military pact is to expire on Nov. 23, following South Korea's decision in August to terminate it after Japan imposed export curbs on Seoul in a row over wartime forced labor.

The U.S. has called on South Korea to reconsider the decision, but the Seoul government has maintained its position that any reconsideration is only possible after Japan first retracts its retaliatory measures.

The former commanders and deputy commanders also exchanged opinions on a wide range of pending alliance issues, such as the denuclearization of North Korea and the defense cost-sharing agreement between the allies, according to the association.

"The (former military leaders from) both nations also believe in the necessity of a staunch South Korea-U.S. alliance given the current security circumstances," it added.

Former commanders and deputy commanders of the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command pose for a picture during their visit to the Korea Veterans Association in Seoul on Nov. 14, 2019, in this photo provided by the association. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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