U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper to visit S. Korea next week
Updated: 2019-11-08 13:34:02 KST
Yet another U.S. official is headed to Seoul as Washington attempts to twist Seoul's arm and get it to rescind its decision to scrap the GSOMIA military intel-sharing pact.
This time, the visitor will be the highest-ranking official yet: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
According to the Pentagon, Esper will depart Washington on November 13th to travel to Seoul, Bangkok, Manila and Hanoi.
While the exact dates have not been revealed, it appears Esper will travel in that order.
Esper's visit comes ahead of the November 23rd expiration of GSOMIA.
Seoul decided to terminate the pact several weeks ago due to its trade and trust issues with Tokyo.
Ever since, Washington has repeatedly called on Seoul to reconsider.
Earlier this week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell was in Seoul to apparently push for the pact's renewal.
The Pentagon also added that Esper will attend the 51st U.S.-Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting, where he will sit down with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and other senior defense officials.
The two sides will discuss their alliance, reaffirm their commitment to enhance their bilateral defense cooperation and address issues of mutual importance to the security and stability of the Korean Peninsula.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.