Japan and South Korea made a last-ditch effort to save their expiring intelligence pact, after the Trump administration pressed its two allies to prevent their feud from dealing a lasting blow to the U.S.’s regional security network.
The two sides were having “positive” discussions about a potential resolution to their standoff over the General Security of Military Information Agreement, according to a person familiar with the talks. The pact, which allows the two allies to share information independently from the U.S., will cease to exist at 12 a.m. Saturday local time without a compromise.
With just hours to go, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha decided to attend Group of 20 meetings in Nagoya on Friday that will bring her into contact with her Japanese counterpart, Jiji Press reported. The decision to send Kang came after South Korea’s presidential office held a national security council meeting to discuss the pact, broadcaster KBS reported.
The agreement could be the most significant casualty yet of a dispute between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in that rapidly escalated over the past year as the U.S. sat largely on the sidelines. A late U.S. push to save the deal, including a Seoul visit last week by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a call Thursday by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, resulted in no immediate breakthroughs.
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