Reports: U.S. officials in South Korea to discuss military costs, intelligence

Nov. 5 (UPI) — Two senior U.S. officials are in South Korea this week for discussions that could address defense-cost sharing and GSOMIA, a military intelligence-sharing agreement between Seoul and Tokyo.

David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, has been in Asia, visiting Japan, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand, South Korean paper Seoul Shinmun reported Tuesday.

Stilwell is expected to meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, and with high-level officials at the presidential Blue House. It is unclear whether he will meet with President Moon Jae-in or other ministers.

Stilwell is likely to discuss the benefits of Seoul staying in GSOMIA. Last month in Japan, Stilwell had reportedly said the deal is good for the United States, Japan and South Korea.

James DeHart, a U.S. negotiator on defense cost-sharing with the State Department is also in Seoul, according to Yonhap.

“Very good to be here this week,” DeHart said after arriving in South Korea.

DeHart is not expected to engage in any defense negotiations, which have been ongoing in Honolulu.

A South Korean official who spoke anonymously told Yonhap DeHart could be in Seoul to “gauge sentiment.”

“We expect that this will be an opportunity for him to get a firsthand look at what we have always described as a reasonable and equitable cost-sharing,” the source said.

Talks on U.S.-South Korea economic cooperation are also scheduled to take place.

Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, is meeting with Seoul officials for talks on energy cooperation, and ways to connect South Korea’s ASEAN-focused New Southern Policy and Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy in Asia.

U.S. interest in building a 5G network with partners in the region could also be discussed, according to Newsis.

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