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Defense ministry vows to expand security cooperation with Japan

Diplomacy 11:29 March 22, 2021

SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will seek to expand security cooperation with Japan, the defense ministry said Monday, following a recent visit by the U.S. state and defense secretaries to its two Asian allies stressing the importance of trilateral cooperation among the three countries.

Three-way cooperation was a key agenda item of last week's Asia trip by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, during which they "pledged to continue promoting mutually beneficial, forward-looking cooperation to promote peace, security and prosperity in the region," according to the allies' joint statement.

Defense Minister Suh Wook also said in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV that South Korea will "continue to hold military talks" with Japan and "continue on cooperation in the future," calling its security ties with Tokyo "a valuable asset."

"The minister agrees on the importance of security cooperation between South Korea and Japan. We'll push for various exchanges and cooperation," ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said during a regular press briefing.

Relations between the neighbors have fallen to one of the lowest ebbs in recent years as historical and diplomatic spats have spilled over into the security realm.

In 2019, the Seoul government decided not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), a bilateral military information-sharing pact with Japan, in protest of its export curbs, though it suspended the decision at the last minute amid U.S. pressure against its termination.

Defense ministry vows to expand security cooperation with Japan - 1

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