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US And South Korea Hold Phone Talks, Discussed GSOMIA And Defence Costs

Days prior to the expiration of GSOMIA ( General Security Of Military Information Agreement) between South Korea and Japan, the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo have also upon his South Korean counterpart to discussed the soon to be expired GSOMIA and the outstanding issues of defence costs sharing between US and South Korea.

Mark Esper, US Defence Secretary have also called upon South Korea and Japan and had asked them to resolve the bilateral issues pertaining to the discontinuance of GSOMIA. South Korea and Japan had decided to discontinue their military intelligence and information sharing pact on North Korea after the Supreme Court of South Korea ordered Japan to pay individual compensation for ‘forced labour’ to South Korean workers during the colonization of South Korea by Japan from 1910 to 1945.

Japan had disagreed to the payment of compensation saying that it has already paid all outstanding wartime compensation during a 1965 agreement and had also curb exports of certain items required by South Korean companies.

Mark Esper, US Defense Secretary, who was in Asia for the ASEAN Plus Defence Minister’s Meet (ASEAN PLUS DMM) have said the worsening ties between the US allies in Asia ( South Korea and Japan) to the extent of discontinuence of GSOMIA is going to only benefit Beijing and Pyongyang.

Besides GSOMIA, US and South Korean leaders also discussed the issue of sharing the defence costs. The US have asked South Korea to increase its defence costs to 5 billion USD from 1 billion USD for the stationed 28,500 US soldiers in South Korea.

The South Korean side have disagreement citing financial crunches in its economy and calling the US demand for the manifold increase for defense costs as excessive. This past week, talks between US and South Korea have failed to reached a consensus following the demand by the US government under the Trump led administration which is of the belief that rich allies should be made to pay because they can afford to.