The top military commanders of South Korea and the US will meet in Seoul on Thursday to discuss the allies’ military readiness and the security situation on the Korean Peninsula at the 44th Military Committee Meeting
The agenda for the meeting is likely to include issues surrounding Seoul’s General Security of Military Information Agreement with Tokyo, and the ongoing defense cost-sharing negotiations.
Japan`s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (L) at the Abe`s office in Tokyo on Wednesday. Yonhap
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley arrived in Seoul on Wednesday for the meeting after a visit to Japan.
While in Tokyo, Milley reportedly discussed GSOMIA with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Following the meeting with Abe, Milley was quoted by the media as saying that that it would also be discussed during his trip to Korea.
“It’ll be a point in discussion there. So we want to try to resolve that issue before it expires,” Japanese media quoted Milley as saying.
Washington has voiced concerns over Seoul’s decision not to extend GSOMIA with Japan in light of Tokyo’s economic retaliation against the Korean Supreme Court’s ruling on forced laborers.
If Seoul does not overturn its decision on GSOMIA, the agreement will expire at midnight on Nov. 23.
Aside from GSOMIA, Milley and his South Korean counterpart, Gen. Park Han-ki, will be briefed on the results of Korea’s initial operational capability assessment carried out during joint drills in August.
Park and Milley are set to report the results to the Security Consultative Meeting scheduled for Friday.
The schedule for assessing whether Korea has full operational control, or FOC, will be decided at the SCM. As part of the process of transferring wartime operation control authority from Washington to Seoul, the Korean military’s FOC will be assessed in 2020, and its mission capabilities will be assessed the following year.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is scheduled to arrive Thursday for the SCM.
According to Seoul’s Ministry of National Defense, Esper will meet with Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo early Friday and hold the SCM to “have in-depth discussions on diverse pending security issues.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com