Anchor: With less than two weeks before a military intel-sharing pact between South Korea and Japan expires, the U.S. is pressuring Seoul to reverse its decision to pull out of the deal. The issue appears poised to dominate discussions for military and defense leaders, as both U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Mark Milley visit the region this week.
Choi You Sun has the details.
Report: Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, will hold a trilateral meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul this week.
Milley, who embarked on his first overseas trip to Japan and South Korea since taking office in September, is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Wednesday, where he will meet his South Korean counterpart Gen. Park Han-ki.
According to South Korea's intelligence officials on Monday, the two military chiefs will connect with their Japanese counterpart through a video conference call.
The three sides are widely expected to discuss the November 22 termination of the General Security of Military Information Agreement(GSOMIA) between Seoul and Tokyo, a pact which better enables the sharing of key intel regarding North Korea and which Seoul has decided to pull out of.
South Korea’s decision came after Japan rolled out export restrictions on South Korea this past summer in apparent retaliation over top court rulings on colonial-era grievances the previous year.
Seoul has said it won't retract the decision unless Tokyo withdraws the trade restrictions and has asked Washington to help resolve the row.
En route to Tokyo for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, Milley urged the U.S.' two Northeast Asian allies to patch up their differences, arguing that distance between Seoul, Tokyo and Washington only serves the interests of Beijing and Pyongyang.
Washington, which has openly expressed disappointment over Seoul's decision, appears poised to launch a full-scale diplomatic push to convince Seoul to reverse its GSOMIA decision.
After arriving in Seoul, Milley will accompany U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper at the allies' annual defense ministerial meeting on Friday.
While the GSOMIA issue is not on the official agenda, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman has said he can "practically guarantee" the topic will be part of Esper's meeting with Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.