U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper will visit Seoul next week ahead of the expiration of a military intelligence sharing agreement between South Korea and Japan.
The Pentagon said on Thursday that Esper will depart next Wednesday to travel to South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam. It did not provide exact dates, but the secretary is likely to travel in that order.
In a press release, the Pentagon added that Esper will attend the 51st U.S.-South Korea Security Consultative Meeting(SCM), where he will meet with Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and other senior South Korean officials. The SCM meeting is set for next Friday and Saturday in Seoul.
The Pentagon added the two sides will discuss the alliance and reaffirm their commitment to enhancing bilateral defense cooperation to address issues of mutual importance to the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said that Seoul and Tokyo's military information sharing pact will be discussed during the defense chief's Seoul trip, adding the U.S. would like to see the issue resolved.