Two high-ranking South Korean envoys recently visited the United States to explain Seoul's decision to terminate a military information-sharing pact with Japan, sources here said Sunday.
Kim Tae-jin, head of the North American Affairs bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited Washington D.C. on Thursday with Kim Jung-han, who is in charge of Asian and Pacific affairs at Seoul's foreign ministry, according to sources. It is believed to be the first US visit by high-ranking South Korean officials since Seoul decided to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement on Aug. 22.
Kim Jung-han, Director-General for Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Yonhap)
Pundits said it is a rare case for the foreign ministry's North American affairs chief to accompany the Asian and Pacific affairs head on a US visit.
The two diplomats reportedly discussed with US officials the issues regarding South Korea's GSOMIA termination after Tokyo imposed export curbs on Seoul in apparent retaliation against the top court's ruling on wartime forced labor.
They were also expected to have told US officials that South Korea's decision may be reviewed if Japan withdraws its trade restrictions, while asking US to take an active role in the issue.
Washington has repeatedly made clear to South Korea's Moon Jae-in administration that the GSOMIA decision would have a negative effect not only on the bilateral relationship with Japan but also on US security interests and those of other allies.
Following South Korea's GSOMIA decision, the US publicly expressed disappointment, which led to concerns over the Seoul-Washington relationship. (Yonhap)