2012-05-22 (China Military News cited from koreatimes.co.kr and by Chung Min-uck) — Seoul is seeking a military agreement with its largest trade partner China, according to officials, in an apparent bid to ease a possible backlash after halting a similar move towards an accord with Japan.
The move came just days after Seoul suspended signing of military pacts with Tokyo.
“We are pursuing a similar mutual logistical agreement with China too,” said Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Monday.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Seoul has also been in low key talks for a proposed pact with Beijing for an exchange of military intelligence.
Seoul is discussing signing a similar agreement with Tokyo as well.
“Of late, we introduced to the Chinese officials our ongoing General Security of Military Information Act (GSOMIA) with Japan,” said a foreign ministry official on condition of anonymity. “We previously held talks several times with the Chinese counterparts on pursuing the deal.”
The official declined to give specifics on the behind-the-scene talks.
A senior foreign ministry official, during a recent visit to Beijing, briefed about Seoul’s ongoing military agreement talks with Japan and made an unofficial proposal of signing one with China.
Observers say South Korea’s move aims to pre-empt Beijing’s resistance to possible trilateral military cooperation involving Seoul, Washington and Tokyo.
China interprets the bilateral military agreement between Seoul and Japan as the first step toward a stronger “southern alliance” led by the United States.