Japan and South Korea are close to formalizing an accord on the sharing of critical data related to North Korea's WMD efforts, a government insider in Seoul told the Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday (see GSN, June 5).
The two countries will formally ink the General Security of Military Information Agreement "as early as this week, or sometime next week at the latest," the unidentified source said.
The South Korean government Cabinet approved the measure on Tuesday, he said.
Seoul previously had delayed entering into such an agreement with Tokyo due to the two governments' competing ownership claims over the Dokdo islands. However, the South was convinced of the need for the accord after the North's failed April attempt to send a long-range rocket into space, a Seoul official said.
"Japan has a lot of intelligence on North Korea and the [military intelligence accord] with Japan will benefit us a lot. Our [intelligence] network will expand under this deal," the official said.
The South presently has intelligence sharing agreements with 24 nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia (Yonhap News Agency, June 27).
Separately, Seoul intends to erect a new military maritime installation not far from its contested Yellow Sea boundary line with the North, Russia Today reported on Tuesday.
The plans have received government authorization, South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said.
The forward naval outpost on Baengnyeong island could cost as much as $36.6 million. The base is intended to house some 100 military personnel and to be finished no later than the close of 2014 (Russia Today, June 26).