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Military chiefs of S. Korea, U.S., Japan agree to boost multilateral cooperation

All Headlines 16:48 November 15, 2019

By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- The top uniformed officers of South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed Friday to continue efforts to address joint security concerns and further expand their cooperation, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The pledge was made during a video-conference meeting between South Korea's JCS Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Koji Yamazaki. Park and Milley were together at the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul.

"The three chiefs agreed to continue to strive for the resolution of pending mutual security issues to promote peace and stability in the region and to expand multilateral cooperation," the JCS said in a release.

"Gen. Park stressed the importance of the three-way cooperation ... and Gen. Milley reaffirmed the U.S.' ironclad commitment to defend both South Korea and Japan if called upon, and to provide extended deterrence guaranteed by the full spectrum of U.S. military capabilities," it added.

The trilateral security cooperation is the subject of particular attention, as the intelligence-sharing pact between Seoul and Tokyo is set to expire on Nov. 23.

In August, South Korea announced its decision to terminate the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which was signed in 2016, following Japan's export curbs amid a row over wartime forced labor.

The U.S. has repeatedly called on South Korea to reconsider its termination decision, saying that it is a key security platform among the three sides to better counter threats posed by North Korea and an assertive China.

The three chairmen last met face-to-face in October in Washington, when the Korean and Japanese leaders attended the change of command ceremony for Milley.

During the bilateral Military Committee Meeting (MCM) held in Seoul on Friday, Park and Milley also acknowledged the critical nature of multinational partnerships and agreed to further strengthen efforts for regional peace and stability, according to their joint statement.

Friday's meeting was also attended by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Commander Adm. Phil Davidson; U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Robert Abrams; and U.S. Forces Japan Commander Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, according to the JCS.

This photo, courtesy of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, shows a trilateral meeting among South Korea's JCS Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki (R) and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Gen. Mark Milley (C) and Gen. Koji Yamazaki, respectively, at the Pentagon near Washington on Oct. 1, 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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