U.S. Defense Minister invited South Korea to join the escort alliance South Korea did not explicitly agree to

 U.S. Defense Minister invited South Korea to join the escort alliance South Korea did not explicitly agree to

The Yonhap news agency reported by several South Korean officials that Esper called on the South to participate in the escort alliance during the meeting. Zheng Jingdou answered that the ROK was studying various schemes to protect Korean vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

According to a South Korean official, Esper is talking in general, not making a clear request. Yonhap reporter reported that the United States appealed to the ROK to provide support during the meeting of the Defense Minister, which is actually equivalent to a formal invitation.

Some sources disclosed that the South Korean side is studying plans including deploying South Korean anti-piracy forces operating off Somalia to the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States is bringing allies to join the escort alliance, and so far few have responded. Britain and Israel say they intend to join.

South Korea is the last stop of Espers five-nation Asia-Pacific tour. He had previously joined up with Australia and Japan, but also had no clear commitment. Australia said that careful consideration was needed and Japan responded with the need for comprehensive judgment.

Kyodo News Agency reported on the 8th with several Japanese government sources that Japan was considering sending self-defense forces to Yemen waters thousands of kilometers away from Iran alone. The plan aims to maintain friendly relations with Iran, while the coast of Yemen is the scope of activities delineated by the United States for the escort alliance.

Esper later met with South Korean President Wen Youyin. An official at the presidential palace in Tsingwatai said that Esper and Wen did not discuss South Koreas accession to the escort alliance.

The Yonhap news agency reported that when Esper met with Zheng Jingdou, he stressed the importance of security cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea and hoped that the two allies of the United States would maintain the Military Intelligence Protection Agreement between them. Zheng Jingdou answered that the ROK would consider comprehensively before deciding.

According to this agreement, South Korea and Japan can share information. However, Japans previous export control measures against the ROK triggered a strong reaction from the ROK, warning that the agreement may not be renewed.

Reported that Esper and Zheng Jingdou and Wen Zaiyin met, did not mention the sensitive sharing of U.S. military costs in Korea. In March this year, South Korea and the United States signed a new cost-sharing agreement for US troops stationed in South Korea. This year, South Koreas share increased by 8.2% to 924 million US dollars.

The agreement expires at the end of this year and the two sides are expected to negotiate a new version of the agreement in a short time. U.S. President Donald Trump has been urging South Korea to pay more. (Hui Xiaoshuang) (Xinhua News Agency Special Draft)

Source: Xinhua responsible editor: Lin Zhiheng_NY9285