(GPA) Seoul – The governments in Tokyo and Seoul have decided to expedite the process of reaching an agreement and signing on to the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) together in order to better share information concerning North Korea.
The agreement would allow for more direct cooperation between the two states when it comes to sharing intelligence concerning the region. Prior to this, the US was responsible for relaying information to the two countries separately. Analysts think a combination of US pressure and recent diplomatic concessions between the two countries on historical matters made it possible for this agreement to be reached so quickly.
Both countries are racing to put pressure on a nuclear North Korea but this treaty could have more implications for the future. Considering the slight falling out between China and South Korea over the deployment of a US missile system, along with rising tensions between China and Japan over territorial disputes in the East China Sea it is highly possible this new agreement could be used to combat Chinese influence in the area.
With the US losing ground in the Philippines (where several US bases are located) and also under public pressure to remove bases from Okinawa in Japan, it would make sense that the US may be looking for a less intrusive approach with their economic partners in the region. Japan may even hold the influence over the Philippines in the United States’ favor with the two countries growing economic ties.
Many people think Obama’s now infamous ‘Asia-pivot’ has failed but it could be that it’s just taking a different shape. With Japan as one of the United States’ primary economic allies and South Korea as one of the remaining regional allies happy with their military arrangement with the US; control may just be coming in a different form than the post WWII framework we’re used to.