Feb. 12 (UPI) -- South Korea's presidential Blue House denied reports Seoul is considering not renewing GSOMIA, a bilateral military intelligence agreement with Japan.
A senior Blue House official who met with local reporters said Wednesday news reports claiming Seoul is to let the General Security of Military Information Agreement expire is "not true," Money Today reported.
"We have so far been negotiating with the Japanese side," the official said. "We are in the midst of discussions in order to garner good results for each other."
Tensions have mostly subsided between Tokyo and Seoul over a wide range of political and economic disputes since late 2019. In November, South Korea agreed to conditionally extend the military pact with Tokyo, but Seoul has also requested Japan remove export restrictions that target South Korean companies, which remain in place. More recently, Japan filed a petition with the World Trade Organization, charging Seoul with subsidizing its domestic shipbuilders.
On Wednesday, South Korea's foreign ministry called on Japan to withdraw the export control measures. The statement is a reminder Seoul can allow GSOMIA to expire at any time, according to Money Today.
U.S. officials have previously said the alliances with Japan and South Korea are crucial and provide the United States opportunities to "train and improve our capabilities."
The three countries are among the participants in the U.S. and Thai-led Cobra Gold exercises in late February, but owing to coronavirus concerns, Seoul is reducing the number of its troops participating in Thailand, Yonhap reported Wednesday.
More than 470 South Korean troops were expected to take part in the two-week exercise; that number may be down to about 30 troops, according to the report.
U.S. and South Korean officials have left for Russia this week on an unannounced trip, following working group discussions in Seoul, Newsis reported Wednesday.
Alex Wong, the U.S. deputy nuclear envoy, discussed coordinating "on achieving...shared goals of complete denuclearization and bringing lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula," the U.S. State Department said.