Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi shakes hands with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Nagoya on Saturday. Photo: Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via REUTERS
politics

S Korea, Japan trade barbs over who said what about salvaging intelligence deal

49 Comments
By Hyonhee Shin and Makiko Yamazaki

South Korea and Japan traded fresh barbs on Monday, just days after agreeing to salvage an important intelligence-sharing pact, highlighting the fragile ties between the former wartime foes and allies of the United States.

Officials from each side criticized or contradicted comments made by other and in media about whether Tokyo had apologized over what Seoul said was an inaccurate weekend statement about the agreement.

Under pressure from Washington, South Korea made a last-minute decision on Friday to conditionally maintain the pact, known as GSOMIA, a dramatic about-face amid a months-long feud over history and trade.

GSOMIA, or the General Security of Military Information Agreement, is a key symbol of security cooperation between the two old foes and a trilateral partnership with the United States.

Tokyo, for its part, said Seoul made a strategic choice and it hoped to hold trade talks, though it would not immediately restore South Korea's fast-track exporter status.

Officials at Seoul's presidential Blue House said on Sunday they had lodged a protest and received an apology over the Japanese trade ministry's announcement that it will continue enhanced screening on the exports of three core materials used in semiconductors, which they said was "completely different" to what was agreed.

On Monday, the Blue House singled out a report of Japan's Yomiuri newspaper quoting a Japanese foreign ministry official as saying it was "not true" that Tokyo has apologized.

"To clarify once again, we have complained and Japan apologized," senior press secretary Yoon Do-han said in a statement. "Japanese and Korean media are creating a truth game, but we know the truth."

Less than two hours later, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga contradicted Yoon's remarks, saying the export curbs were "completely unrelated to GSOMIA".

"It is not productive to comment on every remark by South Korea, but it is not true that the Japanese government apologized," Suga told a press briefing.

The feud is rooted in a disagreement over compensation for South Koreans forced to work at Japanese companies during the 1910-45 occupation. After South Korea's Supreme Court ordered compensation last year, some former laborers are seeking to seize local assets of Japanese firms, and Tokyo imposed export controls.

South Korean and Japanese trade authorities are expected to meet as early as this week to discuss the issue.

The two countries' foreign ministers agreed on Saturday to work to arrange a summit next month between South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting with China.

Moon and Abe have not had formal talks for more than a year, though they had an 11-minute chat at an international conference in Thailand early this month.

A senior Blue House official said on Sunday it was"extremely disappointing" to see a report by Japan's Asahi newspaper, which quoted Abe as saying that Tokyo has "not conceded anything" and South Korea "simply caved to very strong U.S. pressure".

"I cannot help but question whether that was something the leader of the Japanese government would say with conscience," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

49 Comments
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And it begins again. Lol

To be honest. Watching Japan and Korea over again is like watching Trump in office over the past few years. Minus the tweeting.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

What a debacle.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

This is funny, probably both of them must save the face in front of their own people, but privately they know the next developments already, forced by US pressure.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

salvaving an intelligence deal?

I detect a complete lack of intelligence in this photo

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

When one asks for coffee, the other asks for tea.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

If SK dropped the GSOMIA this would change the geopolitical order in East Asia. It would be really interesting, but they lack the courage. This bluff is becoming boring....sigh

17 ( +21 / -4 )

senior press secretary Yoon Do-han said in a statement. "Japanese and Korean media are creating a truth game, but we know the truth."

Yes, we do the truth and the truth is that South Korea got rolled.

17 ( +24 / -7 )

This spat doesn't demonstrate a lot of intelligence...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"Under pressure from Washington, South Korea made a last-minute decision on Friday to conditionally maintain the pact, known as GSOMIA, a dramatic about-face amid a months-long feud over history and trade."

There you have it. What is there to argue about? The U.S. knocked some sense into this idiot Moon administration. South Korea bluffed and they folded, period.

As the article says; Tokyo has "not conceded anything" and South Korea "simply caved to very strong U.S. pressure".

Why in the world should or Japan "apologize" to South Korea for removing them from their White List, a privilege granted to South Korea which they abused by refusing to provide the requested export information? Why doesn't South Korea simply provide the requested information and get back on the list if they want to?

Japan has acted like a civilized mature country through all this, and South Korea has escalated the issue by itself only to end up looking like fools. They still can't get over their over-inflated ego which keeps them from thinking straight and doing the simple right thing. A whole country in need of psychotherapy.

16 ( +25 / -9 )

I know see why Korean dramas are so popular. They are great at creating drama.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

*now

13 ( +15 / -2 )

It’s called saving face and giving face.

When the opponent reverses a position and makes a concession, the thing to do is to quietly let it sink in without trumpeting victory. If you gloat or show a smug “doya gao” face, you reopen that can of worms.

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Caption competition

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi: "Please, sit down."

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha: "Uh, isn't that a thumbtack on the seat?"

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Ossan: Maybe you could also tell us how Japan was just trying to free Asia from the white colonizers when it was running around raping and pillaging back in the 1930s and 40s.

-16 ( +10 / -26 )

Kang Kyung wha wha wha wha wha crying only nothing else that's y she was chosen as her name suggests, her wha wha wha crying ability

14 ( +18 / -4 )

After the ww2 Japan with USA and the rest of Northern Asia it was better to belong the communist countries Russia or China. We could find which country better relation with Japan after that Cold-war, Mongolia or "one" Korea?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Typical South Korea. What a pity they decided to keep GSOMIA, it means Japan will have to talk to them more often.

@Chip Star

Maybe you could also tell us how Japan was just trying to free Asia from the white colonizers when it was running around raping and pillaging back in the 1930s and 40s

Or may be you could tell us how South Korean troops were running around raping and pillaging more recently, in Vietnam.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Or may be you could tell us how South Korean troops were running around raping and pillaging more recently, in Vietnam.

It's a well-known fact the RoK troops in Vietnam committed atrocities. Notice how I don't deny it or try to make excuses for it?

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

I think a vast majority of Americans would like our young military personal to be brought home. Let these two (cough, cough) allies work out thier differences with Russian, Chinese assistance. Tired of the pacifist nations that pay for nothing toward protection.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's a well-known fact the RoK troops in Vietnam committed atrocities. Notice how I don't deny it or try to make excuses for it?

Noted with bewilderment. Usually SK and its sympathizers reserve the right to be victim for SK only.

Notice how all WWII-relared claims and issues between SK and Japan were settled by the 1965 treaty and following agreements and how SK tries to get some extra cash by bringing the settled ussues back?

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Noted with bewilderment. Usually SK and its sympathizers reserve the right to be victim for SK only.

I'm not a SK sympathizer, I'm a fact person.

Notice how all WWII-relared claims and issues between SK and Japan were settled by the 1965 treaty and following agreements and how SK tries to get some extra cash by bringing the settled ussues back?

Yes. Notice how Japan has never actually demonstrated contrition for its acts as evidenced by government officials visiting Yasukuni, Japanese textbooks downplaying Japan's rape of Asia, etc.?

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

Noted with bewilderment. Usually SK and its sympathizers reserve the right to be victim for SK only.

Similar to Japan and its sympathizers. It must be an East Asian thing.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

Yes. Notice how Japan has never actually demonstrated contrition for its acts as evidenced by government officials visiting Yasukuni, Japanese textbooks downplaying Japan's rape of Asia, etc.?

I have to disagree. They sat down with Korea in good faith to negotiate a solution to the problem, which resulted in a solution that South Korea agreed would be 'final and irreversible', and signed it as such. The agreement included an apology, and that apology was expressed. This was agreement between nations. While I

I've never seen anything that shows Japan asserted undue influence on this agreement in any way, and there was no obligation upon Japan to negotiate this agreement.

So while I agree that Japan has a problem with some politicians that are clearly white washers, and say stupid stuff, in this situation the country of Japan made a good faith effort, so you cannot say there has never been any contrition. There have just been a bunch of politicians making stupid comments,

Japan has a way to go, but it cannot be said that they have not started.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

It seems S Korea itself tried to terminate GSOMIA and suddenly stopped it. Japan did not compromise anything before SK stopped the termination of it.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

So while I agree that Japan has a problem with some politicians that are clearly white washers, and say stupid stuff, in this situation the country of Japan made a good faith effort, so you cannot say there has never been any contrition. There have just been a bunch of politicians making stupid comments,

To me, this is akin to a wife beater that makes good faith efforts to stop beating his wife by going to counseling and apologizing to his wife and then starts punching her again.

-14 ( +5 / -19 )

Japan has a way to go, but it cannot be said that they have not started.

Agreed.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

It seems S Korea itself tried to terminate GSOMIA and suddenly stopped it. Japan did not compromise anything before SK stopped the termination of it

Yes because it was Moon's manifest public process for presidency

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Korea lost to Japan again.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Japan and PM Abe is clearly the winner. South Korea simply cant go one day without attacking Japan. Grow up!

Trump will be getting very sick of SK causing trouble with the GSOMIA in the region. He is right behind Japan, NOT Seoul, make no mistakes.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

@Chip Star

as evidenced by government officials visiting Yasukuni

How many visits this year? Last year? SK is unhappy every year whatever happens. If there were no Yasukuni, SK would have used another subject as evidence of Japan not demonstrating "actual contrition" Blackmailer will never say "enough".

Japanese textbooks downplaying Japan's rape of Asia

And U.S. textbooks are filled with, let's say, expliciti descriptions of annihilation of native American population, U.K. textbooks do the same with the great pillage of India? Must be a Western thing.

It must be an East Asian thing

If you are a fact person as you claim, try to figure out why attititude towards Japanese colonial rule is so different in Korea and Taiwan. Or why Indonesia and Philippines do not whine about Japanese colonialism. May be it is because Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines are honest enough not to use the WWII subject as a tool to get from Japan concessions and money, they do not use Japan as a foolproof instrument to deflect people's attention from internal failings of their own making?

15 ( +20 / -5 )

When will people learn not to trust Abe and co.

Promised Trump personally that Japan will purchase 2.5 million tons of corn from the US, but later denied such promise to his colleagues.

Boasted ’with many days of mild and sunny weather, this period provides an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best’, when in fact the Tokyo olympics will be hottest summer olympics ever

Said Fukushima waste was all under control, but deliberately placed contaminated bags next to river banks so that it was ‘accidentally’ swept away by typhoon Hagibis, causing IOC President Bach to announce that they will investigate radiation levels

Adjusted minimum safe radiation levels to force Fukushima residents to return home

Ordered JOC to delete/discard/remove all paper trails and financial statements to hinder investigation re allegations of bribery

Asked Korea to remove Dokdo from the unified flag on the pretense the island is in dispute, but then included them in Japan’s map for 2020 olympics

Wrongly accuse South Korea of not honoring the 1965 treaty when the Supreme Court handed judgment against the Japanese companies, despite the fact that previous governments, UNCHR, group of 100 Japanese lawyers all say otherwise

Accuse South Korea of export violation to North Korea without giving any evidence

AND NOW THIS.

What a joke!

-20 ( +2 / -22 )

@showchinmono

It seems S Korea itself tried to terminate GSOMIA and suddenly stopped it. Japan did not compromise anything before SK stopped the termination of it

Here is more detailed account of what's happening behind the scene.

1) There is a showdown between Japan's foreign ministry and METI, which was behind the export control.

2) During the last days, there was an immense US pressure on the Japanese foreign ministry, so the foreign ministry gave in to US pressure.

3) Japan's foreign ministry promised to lift the export control in 30 days.

4) Korea in return gave Japan 40 days until December 31st to complete lifting of export control.

5) METI is balking at this sudden surrender and is resisting hard, as this compromise didn't involve them.

6) The US is aware of this deal between Japan's foreign ministry and the ROK, so all hell will break loose if Japan fails to lift the export control by December 31st as agreed.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Grow up South Korea!

10 ( +17 / -7 )

There is a massive infighting by the foreign ministry and METI right now.

When the US discovered that the spec-ops soldier Moon's pain tolerance was very high and wouldn't budge, the US decided to twist Japan's arm instead, and Japan's pain tolerance was very low and a deal was quickly reached 6 hours before the termination time.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/11/25/business/japan-reportedly-floated-one-month-time-frame-retracting-export-curbs-south-korea-said-stay-gsomia/

Tokyo floated one-month time frame for retracting export curbs ahead of GSOMIA deal with Seoul: report

Japan floated a specific time frame to withdraw its tightened export controls against South Korea, an offer that apparently spurred Seoul’s decision to remain in a key intelligence-sharing pact, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Japan said it would take about a month to retract the trade curbs after making sure there is no problem with South Korea’s export management, the news agency reported Monday, citing unspecified sources.

The flow of events contradicts claims by Japanese officials that Tokyo is not planning to ease its tightened export control measures anytime soon. South Korea’s presidential Blue House and the Japanese government could not immediately be reached for comment.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

@Samit

When the US discovered that the spec-ops soldier Moon's pain tolerance was very high and wouldn't budge, the US decided to twist Japan's arm instead, and Japan's pain tolerance was very low and a deal was quickly reached 6 hours before the termination time.

Oh man, this is rich. You should work in politics with spinning skills like this. Your hero Moon caved.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Officials at Seoul's presidential Blue House said on Sunday they had lodged a protest and received an apology over the Japanese trade ministry's announcement that it will continue enhanced screening on the exports of three core materials used in semiconductors, which they said was "completely different" to what was agreed.

On Monday, the Blue House singled out a report of Japan's Yomiuri newspaper quoting a Japanese foreign ministry official as saying it was "not true" that Tokyo has apologized.

This is very ingenious IMHO, in the past, it would be SK who said Tokyo didn't apologize so now they just deny it from the start in a reverse psychology kind of way...

12 ( +14 / -2 )

S. Korea caved. The word was 'reversal'. And that word was used to describe S. Korea, not Japan.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Yeah Yeah.

In July:

SK " Russia officially apologized for its violation of territorial air"

Russia " Never We did not violate nor apologized"

In August

SK: USA showed understanding of our decision to terminate GSOMIA"

USA: " Not True We protested"

13 ( +17 / -4 )

I guess it would take decades for Japan to reveal the truth. Obfuscation is a feature in Japanese diplomacy. For example:

After decades of obfuscation, Japan stated today for the first time that bungling within the Foreign Ministry 53 years ago was responsible for Japan's failure to declare war on the United States before launching its attack on Pearl Harbor.

https://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/21/world/japan-admits-it-bungled-notice-of-war-in-41.html

History repeats.

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

So here are the facts.

*Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties Art31&32 clarify not only how Treaty is worded but also all the supporting documents( agreed minutes, dialogue records) are to be referred to in case of the dispute. It is obvious that damages are covered from agreed minutes and official negotiation records. I suggest you not to use the simple word “damage” *

*You should rather use “ compensation claims ( for physical and mental pains associated with Japan’s ruling as results of Japan’s annexation), which South Korean delegates referred to during negotiation process and demanded reparations. And yet, SK signed on final document which clearly states any kind of claims have been settled completely and finally, regardless of legitimacy of SK's such compensation claims. *

 

it was the Imperial Japanese military high command that ordered the forced conscription of comfort women.

 

There’s no such fact whatsoever. What existed some rape-crimes by soldiers in the battlefield which had nothing to with military high command.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

In South Korea, the Blue House issued an official statement criticizing Japan for lying about the circumstances that led to the CONDITIONAL extension (as in depending on how Japan behaves) of GSOMIA.

In Japan, after a spate of vaguely worded stories quoting the usual "anonymous sources", overnight the subject of GSOMIA virtually disappeared off the headlines.

It's obvious who's got stuff to hide.

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

 If there were no Yasukuni, SK would have used another subject as evidence of Japan not demonstrating "actual contrition" Blackmailer will never say "enough".

Absolute speculation.

And U.S. textbooks are filled with, let's say, expliciti descriptions of annihilation of native American population

Yes, we do learn about the genocide white people committed against native Americans.

, U.K. textbooks do the same with the great pillage of India? Must be a Western thing.

I cannot speak to this. I can say the British don't deny what they did.

If you are a fact person as you claim, try to figure out why attititude towards Japanese colonial rule is so different in Korea and Taiwan. Or why Indonesia and Philippines do not whine about Japanese colonialism. May be it is because Taiwan, Indonesia and Philippines are honest enough not to use the WWII subject as a tool to get from Japan concessions and money, they do not use Japan as a foolproof instrument to deflect people's attention from internal failings of their own making?

Could be. It also could be that Japan didn't rule over those places with an iron fist from 1910 and didn't use their women as sex slaves.

For what it's worth, I appreciate your engaging in this conversation with me in an adult-like manner. It's a rarity on the internet.

-16 ( +1 / -17 )

There’s no such fact whatsoever. What existed some rape-crimes by soldiers in the battlefield which had nothing to with military high command.

The fact is the IJA ordered the sexual enslavement of women.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

Good morning, now that everybody had their say I can tell how it was:

SK: We demand an apology for taking us off the White List!

JP: Sorry, we can't do that.

SK: OK, thank you, see you!

JP: ... ok, cya....?

--- next day ---

SK: Horray, we won. Japan apologized to us!

JP: ...???!?

All commentators: Yey, they did, no they didn't, did too, did not...

JP: We didn't apologize!?

SK: Yes you did, you said sorry. We release a press note you did and that you are a liar, always were and we were right and you never apologized... we mean, you apologized and... who cares. The truth is ours! World, hear us poor people etc etc...

sigh

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Saitama: Astute summary, and funny!

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

Hahaha...

This is what S. Korea looks like when losing and giving in to Japan!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Koreans are staying in GSOMIA. - Japan did nothing gave nothing when it comes to export control or historical issues.

Korea stopped the WTO complained. Japan did nothing gave nothing for that gesture.

Koreans say Japan gave them an apology behind close doors... If that's all it takes to make progress on Korea-Japan issues copy and repeat! Stand firm, wait for Korea to buckle and ask for apology.

1965 Agreement we should use the same tactic and strategy! Koreans will back down after a while and we give them an apology like we have dozens of times already so they feel better.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The US has strongly pressured S Korea about GSOMIA because the US military think it is much more important for the US's interest and security rather than Japan's protection. Moon should know he should not have used such security matter as hostage to change Japan's trade control. All countries have their own trade controls. It seems to me S Korea started termination of it selfishly and stopped it selfishly. Anyway Japan did not compromise/promise anything SK wants. Lets wait and see what is gonna happen next.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

The fact is the IJA ordered the sexual enslavement of women.

Nope. The fact is that the IJA instructed setting up comfort stations (brothels) in/near the battlefields

as Germans, French, Koreans did. The IJA did not order forced conscription of women, nor sexual enslavement of women.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

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