South Korea to Proceed With Intelligence Sharing Accord With Japan

The South Korean government intends to move forward with finalizing an accord with Japan that would enable the two advanced East Asian countries to exchange military intelligence on North Korea's weapons of mass destruction-related efforts, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday (see GSN, June 29).

The bilateral pact was due to be signed on Friday, but an outcry from South Korean political opposition parties caused the Lee Myung-bak administration to halt the scheduled signing ceremony. A special parliament session was due on Monday to examine the intelligence-sharing accord.

"We plan to enter into the signing procedure after completing a report to the National Assembly," a high-ranking Seoul government official said. "This is a pact that we postponed at the risk of a diplomatic gaffe and it is difficult to pull out of it."

Seoul has never before entered into a military accord with Tokyo, its former colonial ruler.

The Lee administration has been accused of fumbling the matter by pushing to secretly finalize the accord instead of allowing public debate on it.

"This is not an issue that requires approval from the National Assembly," the Lee official noted. "Therefore, it is the government's position to push for its signing after explaining (the agreement) to the National Assembly" (Yonhap News Agency, July 2).

July 2, 2012
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The South Korean government intends to move forward with finalizing an accord with Japan that would enable the two advanced East Asian countries to exchange military intelligence on North Korea's weapons of mass destruction-related efforts, the Yonhap News Agency reported on Monday.