Outlook Unclear for Signing of South Korea-Japan Military Intelligence Accord

It is not clear whether South Korea will move to sign a military accord with Japan in 2012 that would enable the two countries to exchange intelligence related to North Korea's weapons of mass destruction, the Japan Times reported on Thursday (see GSN, July 2).

The two East Asian nations were due to sign the accord late last month, but Seoul abruptly postponed the signing after a political furor erupted and the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration was accused of attempting to avoid a public debate on the military pact.

December voting for a new South Korean president would likely add a political calculus to any decision on the timing of the formalization of the accord with the South's former colonial ruler.

"Our stance is that we will press ahead with the signing of the pact with Japan only after we fully make efforts to win support from the National Assembly," an anonymous high-ranking South Korean Foreign Ministry official was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying (Japan Times, July 5).

Meanwhile, the Japanese government on Tuesday again rejected worries that newly added language to a federal atomic energy law would open a door to future nuclear weapons development, Jiji Press reported (see GSN, June 26).

The new language for the Atomic Energy Basic Act states that "national security" is a goal of the law.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's administration issued a statement that affirms the government will adhere to the country's three longstanding and self-imposed principles against the manufacturing, stockpiling or transference of nuclear weapons on Japanese land (Jiji Press, July 3).

July 5, 2012
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It is not clear whether South Korea will move to sign a military accord with Japan in 2012 that would enable the two countries to exchange intelligence related to North Korea's weapons of mass destruction, the Japan Times reported on Thursday.