The U.S. says it will help to mediate the trade spat between South Korea and Japan, but the two countries need to look for a creative solution to their dispute and ensure three-way coordination remains strong.
At a forum in Washington Wednesday about the South Korea-Japan trade row, Marc Knapper, the State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan, said the U.S. will continue to stay involved and is always ready to promote communication between Seoul and Tokyo.
But he added there needs to be (quote)"some soul searching" on recent political decisions that have hurt their trust in each other and the two are equally responsible for improving ties.
He went on to say he believes the two countries will be able to find a creative solution.
As ties between Seoul and Tokyo started to worsen after Japan decided to take South Korea off its whitelist of preferential trading partners, Washington continues to stress that the three-way security coordination should be preserved.
Seoul is considering terminating its bilateral intelligence sharing agreement with Japan called GSOMIA later this month as a countermeasure to Japan's export curbs.
Asked whether there's a separate intelligence sharing agreement among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan that can replace GSOMIA, the State Department told Voice of America that it's crucial the three countries keep their strong partnership intact so they can face regional challenges -- namely, North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.