Foreign Affairs

The Meaning of GSOMIA Termination: Escalation of the Japan-Korea Dispute

Key Points

The South Korean government announcement today of its intention not to renew the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) represents escalation of the Japan-Korea dispute after each side removed the other from preferred trade partner lists (so-called “whitelists”) earlier this month.1

This agreement allowed for more seamless intelligence sharing among the two allies and the United States regarding the North Korea activities in the region. 

Once terminated, the agreement will be hard to reconstitute given domestic political obstacles in the past, particularly in South Korea.

While this action is vindictively directed at Japan, it weakens the U.S.-South Korea alliance as it weakens trilateral cooperation among the three countries.

No policy action of this type takes place in a vacuum. This development is beneficial to countries opposed to the U.S. alliance system including North Korea, China, and Russia.

References

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  1. The official terminology for Japan can be found here: https://www.meti.go.jp/english/press/2019/0802_001.html. The official terminology used by the Republic of Korea can be found here: korea.net/NewsFocus/policies/view?articleId=174090&pageindex=1.