WASHINGTON – Top U.S. military officer Gen. Mark Milley is considering visiting Japan and South Korea in mid-November, a source familiar with the matter has said.
Milley, who became the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Oct. 1, is likely to confirm with his counterparts the importance of three-way security ties in tackling the North Korea nuclear issue and other threats, with Japan and South Korea remaining locked in a spat over history and trade issues, the sources said Friday.
The row between the two U.S. allies has also impacted the security sphere after South Korea decided in August to terminate a bilateral intelligence-sharing pact with Japan that has helped the two countries counter the North’s increasingly sophisticated missile threat.
Washington has called on Seoul to revisit its decision to scrap the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which is set to expire on Nov. 23.
In Japan, Milley is scheduled to hold talks with Gen. Koji Yamazaki, chief of the Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff. Arrangements are also underway for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Defense Minister Taro Kono, the source added.