Japan and S. Korea are at each other's throat once more after the renewal of GSOMIA. (Image via www.orfonline.org)
Japan, S. Korea at it again after GSOMIA renewalJust last week after both countries agreed to renew the military-information sharing pact temporarily, Japan and South Korea (S. Korea) reminded the world once more of how fragile their bilateral relations have been.
On Friday, just before the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) expired at midnight, Seoul agreed to extend the agreement temporarily. All along, GSOMIA acts as trilateral cooperation between Tokyo, Seoul, and their Western ally, the United States (U.S), in tackling North Korea’s (N. Korea) nuclear activity and China.
On Monday, officials from Japan and S. Korean exchanged blows on media over each other’s statements. Tokyo stated that Seoul had done a great action and hoped to maintain the trade talk despite it would not restore S. Korea’s exporter status in its whitelist.
On the other hand, Senior Press Secretary of the Blue House, Yoon Do-han, stated on Sunday that they had lodged a protest against Japan’s Trade Ministry’s announcement to continue the trade curb and export screening of three important chemical components to S. Korea.
On Monday, Seoul denied a statement from an official from Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Yomiuri Shimbun that Tokyo did not apologize.
Less than two hours after Yoon’s statement, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said that GSOMIA’s extension had nothing to do with the trade talk. Furthermore, Suga stated that S. Korea could say anything it wants, and he sees it unproductive to contradict its statement every time.
Both Japan and S. Korea keep on contradicting each other and claim that they know the truth.
The conflict between Japan and S. Korea rooted in the wartime dispute and labor in Japan’s invasion on the Korean Peninsula in 1910 – 1945.
In November 2018, the Supreme Court of S. Korea demanded Japanese companies in S. Korea to compensate for the wartime labor, an issue the Japanese claimed had been solved through the 1965 treaty. The incident leads to the whitelist feuds and Japan’s export control.
On Saturday, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries agreed that the President of S. Korea, Moon Jae-in, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, need to hold a summit on the sidelines of the trilateral meeting with China. For over a year, Abe and Moon did not hold a summit, and both just talked for around 11 minutes during the ASEAN summit in Bangkok.
For the trade issue, the Japanese and S. Korean trade authorities are expected to meet this week.