politics

Esper to visit S Korea to discuss expiring intel pact with Japan

23 Comments

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper will leave on Wednesday for South Korea and other Asian countries to enhance defense cooperation amid the growing influence of China in the region, according to the Pentagon.

Esper's trip to Seoul comes ahead of the expiration of a military intelligence-sharing pact between South Korea and Japan later in the month as the two countries remain at odds over wartime compensation and other issues.

"I can practically guarantee that it will be part of our conversations when we're in Korea," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said, while indicating that Esper will likely urge South Korea to revisit its choice not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA.

"It's something that we would like to see resolved, so that all of us can focus on the biggest threats in the region, which (are) North Korea's activities and then the Chinese efforts to destabilize the region," he added.

GSOMIA has allowed Japan and South Korea -- which have no military alliance between them but are both allies of the United States -- to directly share sensitive intelligence, such as information about North Korea's military activities related to its nuclear and missile programs.

But South Korea said in August that it had decided to scrap the agreement, which will become invalid on Nov 23.

According to the U.S. Defense Department, Esper will also travel to Thailand to attend a regional defense ministers' meeting involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He will travel to the Philippines and Vietnam as well.

China's militarization of outposts in disputed areas of the South China Sea and "predatory" Chinese commercial and economic activities are among the shared challenges to be discussed during the meetings, Hoffman said.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, confirmed plans for the U.S. military to hold joint flight exercises with South Korean forces, but noted a "reduced scope" as compared to previous similar drills so as not to undermine diplomatic efforts toward the denuclearization of North Korea.

After his first summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June last year, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would suspend some joint military exercises with South Korea during Washington's negotiations with Pyongyang.

Subsequently, the United States and South Korea suspended the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise held every August and the Vigilant Ace joint air defense drills last held in December 2017.

On the upcoming exercises, Rear Adm. William Byrne, who attended the press briefing with Hoffman, said, "I'm not going to talk specific force numbers (or) specific airplane numbers, but it's a reduced scope from the former Vigilant Ace exercises."

"But it meets all the requirements of the ROK Air Force, the U.S. Air Force to ensure readiness," he added, referring to South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

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It was agreed during David Stilwell's prior visit that the GSOMIA will end on November 23rd as scheduled.

The US side only asked for an extension to the termination date, not the reversion of the termination itself, but the Korean side was adamant that it would end unless Abe san reversed his export control, so it was pushed aside to discuss more higher priority matters from the US perspective.

So Esper visit is not really about the GSOMIA renewal, contrary to this misreporting.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191110_26/

Seoul: Pact will expire while trade issue exists

A top official at South Korea's presidential office has indicated that an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan will expire unless Tokyo eases its export controls on sensitive high-tech materials.

Chung added that the issue should be resolved by the two nations, saying it has nothing to do with South Korea's alliance with the United States.

Same statement from Korea's Defense Ministry today; the GSOMIA will end as scheduled unless Abe san retracts export control.

One more thing is that Moon is hinting that the his administration will finally enforce judgements against Japanese companies next year.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

SK was right in calling out Japan's trade practices, and Japan even admitted it after denying it, of course, at first. And, of course, there's Japan's denial of history. As said before, SK does not have to, nor need to, continue to cooperate with Japan on this issue. Doesn't hurt SK. Certainly hurts Japan.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

Well this means end of SK is very near who is hurting will come out within few months bt who will suffer without US is anyone's guess

10 ( +12 / -2 )

The "end of SK" is not very near. Nothing wrong with being vigilant about developments with our neighbors but the hyperbole doesn't help much. Dialogue for better relations must be pursued. Sensibly. And compromise must always be on the table.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Yup like respecting the international treaty of 1965 otherwise emotional black mailing Japan ain't gonna work n monetary help from Japan is Zero n if the US puts sanctions on SK then doom is very near. Then whining n dialogue is only the option for SK. Bring something new n relevant n sensible n not this begging money from japan

12 ( +14 / -2 )

South Korea took it upon themselves to turn a historical issue into an economic one, and rather than correct it, went further to turn it into a security one. By doing so South Korea has selfishly undermined the US-JPN-SK military alliance which exists to counter China and North Korea. South Korea has needlessly hurt U.S. interests, since all they had to do was to provide the export information Japan has been requesting for 3 years, in order get back on Japan's white list. South Korea has made itself look unreliable and untrustworthy.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Japan’s actions in the past are in reality a separate issue, SK by linking unrelated issues in the present has not projected its self as a reliable partner on the international scene. They are undermining the US position in the area and with a current President of the US who is renownedly inclined to make policy shifts on the fly this could lead to their being isolated very suddenly (in the past this wouldn’t have been a consideration but in the present it is). Perhaps unintentionally they are playing a very dangerous political game.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

SK is blaming Japan for its GSOMIA decision, but terminating Gsomia  was one of Moon's campaign pledge.  He is trying to evade his responsibility by shifting it onto Japan.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Japan's export administration has got nothing to do with wartime labor issues. It is SK that bundles everything to retaliate. And yet, Moon calls it Japan's economical usurpation. What a Babo

6 ( +7 / -1 )

S. Korea has a long list of complains against Japan!

1965 aggrement which took over a decade to review and sign they don't like it.

Comfort woman payment, apology, deal in 2015 gone in 2018.

Takeshima island S. Korea bashes Japan to recognize as Korean.

Sea of Japan they want to change the name they don't like it.

Dont like our text books

Dont like our military

Dont like the emperor

Dont like our government

Dont like our Sun Flag

Dont like our food and say it's radioactive

Did I forget anything Koreans? Anything else from a long list of things that bother you.

Would any deal and appeasement to S. Korea change their attitude towards Japan, change the long list of issues they have? No

Did we get better relations with China by paying compensation and appeasement? No

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@OssanJapan

South Korea took it upon themselves to turn a historical issue into an economic one

You are confused. It was Abe san who turned a historical issue into an economic one by imposing export control in response to the forced laborer damages verdict.

South Korea has selfishly undermined the US-JPN-SK military alliance

There is no such thing as US-JPN-KR military alliance. One never existed, one will never exist.

@showchinmono

Japan's export administration has got nothing to do with wartime labor issues.

Your denial of facts doesn't make it not true.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

@Samit

Your denial of facts doesn't make it not true.

Oh the irony. Just like how you claim that scrapping GSOMIA will hurt Japan when in reality South Korea has used it to request information from Japan far more than Japan ever has done the reverse. This will be a hiccup for Japanese intelligence as it will just turn it's focus to sharing information with the US, while South Korea will become even more isolated as it damages major relations in the region.

Another case of South Korea cutting off its nose to spite its face.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@SamtBasu

I am neither Japanese or Korean. But I am never confused about the glaring fact that Korea has been turning every single issue with Japan into historical issue. Every single one of them. Like a child. Unreliable, cannot be trusted when it comes to legal agreements. Yes, Japan's atrocity during the previous wars cannot be denied. But because of Korea's never ending hatred, I am now shifting my sympathy to Japan. I'm sure there's many of us who feel the same way. Koreans are hurting themselves by acting immature. Move on. And tell your politicians to stop using Japan for their own vested interest in politics. It has worn out to the point that many are sick of it. None of your politicians care about the comfort women. None. In the meantime, focus on North Korea who is the real threat to the South. And China who will hurt you economically if you're not careful.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@extanker

South Korea has used it to request information from Japan far more than Japan ever has done the reverse.

Where did you get this false info?

 it will just turn it's focus to sharing information with the US

The US cannot provide Japan with the radar info that Japan needs because US itself gets them from Korea, and the terms of US-Korea GSOMIA prevents the US from sharing radar info with third party not just from Korean radars, but also from US's own radars deployed in Korea without the Korean permission.

Japan's own former defense minister confirms that Japan's royally screwed after the GSOMIA termination yet you are repuking the assertion of Japan's own defense minister about Japan's national security impact of the GSOMIA termination.

This is why Moon is playing a hardball here, because he knows Abe has no choice but to surrender to Moon when the next NK missile flies over Japan and Japan is unable to trigger missile alarm to its citizens.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190823/p2a/00m/0na/005000c

Japan fears S. Korea's scrapping of military info pact could hinder response to N. Korea

However, former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani has dismissed such optimism. "If a missile is launched, relevant divisions among the Japanese, South Korean and U.S. governments comprehensively ascertain the details of the launch and where the missile will land in preparing to intercept it. The system can't function (with cancellation of the Japan-South Korea GSOMIA)," he said.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@princess row

Yes, Japan's atrocity during the previous wars cannot be denied. 

But Abe san and his followers are denying Japan's atrocities right now. Everything, including the Rape of Nanjing, Forced conscription of comfort women, etc.

Koreans are hurting themselves by acting immature.

Do expect most of Southeast Asia to turn against Japan as they grow more powerful. It is only China and Korea who are strong enough to speak out against Japanese historical atrocities for now. Others will join this club in the next decade or so.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@extanker

South Korea has used it to request information from Japan far more than Japan ever has done the reverse.

Where did you get this false info?

 it will just turn it's focus to sharing information with the US

The US cannot provide Japan with the radar info that Japan needs because US itself gets them from Korea, and the terms of US-Korea GSOMIA prevents the US from sharing radar info with third party not just from Korean radars, but also from US's own radars deployed in Korea without the Korean permission.

You've been corrected on this so many times, its gotten tiresome. Not to mention the fact that you actually believe that South Korea can tell the US what it can and can't do with it's own radar data.

Also, watch how quick the US/Korea GSOMIA gets dumped if Moon's antics actually affected US readiness for one second. The US holds all the cards here and Moon's ego has gotten too big for his britches. Keep believing that Moon is in control of anything outside of his own borders (and inside when it comes to thinking he can tell the US to do anything without repercussions). There's a reason that the US is going to Korea to tell them to stop playing games.

Japan's own former defense minister confirms that Japan's royally screwed after the GSOMIA termination yet you are repuking the assertion of Japan's own defense minister about Japan's national security impact of the GSOMIA termination.

This is why Moon is playing a hardball here, because he knows Abe has no choice but to surrender to Moon when the next NK missile flies over Japan and Japan is unable to trigger missile alarm to its citizens.

Oh, you must mean like the last North Korean missile launch that South Korea failed to detect and had to request information from Japan, because Japan did detect it. You mean like that missile...?

Don't worry, I know you'll just ignore it, like you do every time it's brought up.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190823/p2a/00m/0na/005000c

Japan fears S. Korea's scrapping of military info pact could hinder response to N. Korea

However, former Defense Minister Gen Nakatani has dismissed such optimism. "If a missile is launched, relevant divisions among the Japanese, South Korean and U.S. governments comprehensively ascertain the details of the launch and where the missile will land in preparing to intercept it. The system can't function (with cancellation of the Japan-South Korea GSOMIA)," he said.

You keep bringing up these comments but you fail to understand what he is actually saying. Nowhere does he say Japan is 'royally screwed'. In fact he is saying that South Korea scrapping the deal affects all three nations. South Korea is hurting themselves as much or more than the US or Japan. But keep misinterpreting things and claiming you are knowledgeable when you clearly are just spouting South Korean propaganda.

You love to ignore anything that disproves your propaganda and you keep repeating the same nonsense over and over again.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/south-korea-axes-pact-to-share-military-intelligence-with-japan/2019/08/22/fe57061c-c4be-11e9-8bf7-cde2d9e09055_story.html

Either way, the biggest losers may be the South Koreans.

“Not renewing GSOMIA is a stunningly stupid decision by South Korea that will hurt itself more than anyone else,” tweeted Mintaro Oba, a speechwriter at West Wing Writers and a former Korea desk officer at the State Department. “Seoul will pay a very grave price for this in Washington. It is not in keeping with a constructive approach to the U.S.-Korea alliance.”

And the biggest winner is likely to be North Korea.

“With Pyongyang bolstering its military capability through repeated weapons tests, intelligence sharing is more important than ever to counter nuclear threats from North Korea,” said Lee ­Ho-ryung, a researcher at the state-run Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul.

“South Korea’s withdrawal from GSOMIA undermines trilateral security cooperation between the United States and its two most important allies in East Asia at a critical time,” Lee said, adding that it also would send a “wrong signal to North Korea.”

People a lot more knowledgeable than you in the area seem to disagree with you. A 'stunningly stupid decision' is a really good way to put it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Even China thinks it's a dumb move. When China thinks you are making a political mistake, that's a really bad sign.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-japan-military/south-korea-japan-agree-intelligence-sharing-on-north-korea-threat-idUSKBN13I068

In Beijing, which is North Korea’s most important supporter despite Chinese anger at its missile and nuclear tests, the foreign ministry said the agreement would add to tensions on the Korean peninsular.

“This will add a new unsafe, unstable element for northeast Asia,” ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not even the US would dare to touch its trade relations with Korea in order to protect that critical radar feed from Korea, yet Abe san did just that. This puts Japan in an extremely dangerous situation as it is blinded from incoming missiles. But Abe san chose his pride over Japan's national security.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/04/politics/bob-woodward-book-donald-trump-fear/index.html

Bob Woodward: Trump's aides stole his papers 'to protect the country'

The book opens with a dramatic scene. Former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn saw a draft letter he considered dangerous to national security on the Oval Office desk.

The letter would have withdrawn the US from a critical trade agreement with South Korea. Trump's aides feared the fallout could jeopardize a top-secret national security program: the ability to detect a North Korean missile launch within just seven seconds.

Woodward reports Cohn was "appalled" that Trump might sign the letter. "I stole it off his desk," Cohn told an associate. "I wouldn't let him see it. He's never going to see that document. Got to protect the country."

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Samit

Oh, you must mean like the last North Korean missile launch that South Korea failed to detect and had to request information from Japan

Actually it wasn't like that at all. Korean defense officials noticed that Japanese press briefing info was all wrong and "volunteered" info to Japanese MoD to remind Japan of what would happen to them after November 23rd without asking anything in return. Japanese officials quick corrected their press release with updated Korean data.

Uh what? Come on man, this is just nonsense. Once again, you completely ignore the fact that South Korea had to request, through GSOMIA, Japan's data on the launch. It is public knowledge. So instead you come up with this barely comprehensible nonsense?

Your credibility was already thin enough but this is classic.

As for everything else, it's the same propaganda you've been peddling over and over. Everyone else can see through it but you are persistent, I'll give you that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But Abe san and his followers are denying Japan's atrocities right now. Everything, including the Rape of Nanjing, Forced conscription of comfort women, etc.

They addressed these with a final and irreversible agreement, which Korea then went on to whine about incessantly, making it clear that they have no wish whatsoever to resolve this issue, as it would mean they would have to stop whining, and Moon and his government have made that a pillar of their party.

Korea is screwed. They've whined themselves in between a rock and a hard place.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@SamiBasu

... but Abe-san... the blame is Abe-San for now. When he is gone and replaced, Korea will do the same, just like in the past. See how I see it? You seem to be an intelligent person. You must then understand why Korea lost its integrity. In fact you should question why your government cannot abide by the agreement(s) they've signed. Japan for the last time provided compensation back with the previous Korean president. It was trashed by the current Korean administration because they had to use Korea's sentiments to bring forth their own agenda. The comfort women are dying. Did the money that Japan gave ever reached them? Maybe a small amount? Your Korea will not satisfy the agreement be cause if will not serve its agenda. I say, they dont care about the comfort women. At all. So you want apology? Then provide a solid proof that when an apology (again) is delivered, that you, the people of Korea and the Korean government will accept that apology in its finality. But you are not capable of doing that. Just look at the past history. That's why I say this is all just a political stunt from those who benefit it the most. And Japan, finally, has enough of it.

... do expect more southeast Asia to turn against Japan... if you think that, you'll wait forever. Unlike South Kotea, the world has moved on. I'm from Southeast Asia and I'll tell you, the Japan now is what matters to us. I visit Japan for its relatively safe travels and unmatched friendliness. I go there and get treated nice by the Japanese people. They're not hateful people. They moved on. We moved on. It is cliche but the world is a better place if you move on from the past too.

Also, answer me this: why dont you hate China also when your history is flooded with their disparity towards Korean people too?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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