Senior State Department Official On East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Special Briefing
Office of the Spokesperson
Press Correspondents Room
Washington, D.C.
November 15, 2019


In Korea, in Seoul, I enjoyed productive discussions with senior ROK leaders. In all of these meetings, I reaffirmed the alliance with the Republic of Korea. It continues to be the lynchpin of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. As far as the ROK and Japan, in my meeting with senior ROK officials I stressed the importance of the GSOMIA to our collective security and urged ROK not to terminate this important information-sharing agreement. We discussed the importance of U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation. While the U.S. will not mediate between our two key allies, I made clear that we will remain engaged and continue to urge the ROK and Japan to de-escalate tensions and find creative solutions to their differences. We will not mediate, but it does not mean that were not involved. I mean, I just had another meeting this morning  the drumbeat has been steady to encourage both sides to find a path back to the productive relationship that they had.

On economic relationship while I was in Seoul, I joined Under Secretary Keith Krach in meeting with Korean business leaders. Under Secretary Krach was in Seoul for the U.S.-ROK Senior Economic Dialogue, and I was pleased to see U.S.-ROK released a joint statement that reaffirmed the strength of our bilateral economic relationship and our commitment to continue expanding our robust economic cooperation and commercial ties.

Besides these meetings in Seoul, I also enjoyed meeting my ROK counterpart on the margins of the East Asia Summit in Bangkok, where we released a joint factsheet highlighting U.S.-ROK cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. We discussed ways to enhance the U.S.-ROK bilateral relationship, including closer coordination between our Indo-Pacific strategy and Koreas New Southern Policy, which have many areas of overlap. [Full Text]