South Korea to risk public wrath by reigniting talks on sharing military intelligence with former colonial ruler
South Korea and Japan are to resume official discussions on a military intelligence sharing pact in order to jointly face up to North Korea, a Seoul official said Thursday.
The two sides were forced to abandon their General Security of Military Information Agreement in 2012 under the weight of public pressure in South Korea -- where there remains wariness over a number of issues stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga plainly admitted Thursday that Tokyo wishes to bolster relations -- both countries are already tied militarily to the United States.
“In terms of Japan-South Korea cooperation, we wish for further promotion of security-related cooperation,” Suga said.
But a government official in Seoul insisted that they will soon hold a working-level meeting to reopen talks on sharing military intelligence.
“South Korea cannot postpone the exchange of military intelligence on the North's nuclear and missile developments any longer at a time the North has mounted its growing military threats,” the official revealed according to local news agency Yonhap.
One of the major stumbling blocks back in 2012 was the suspicion in the South that Seoul was secretly pushing ahead with an agreement at a time when trust in Tokyo was particularly low.
The current Park Geun-hye administration may hope that the situation will have calmed since last year’s so-called “comfort women deal” to compensate now elderly South Korean women forced into sexual slavery during the Japanese colonial era -- although the deal is viewed as insufficient by some surviving victims and critics, and Park is also under heavy pressure at home after leaking presidential drafts in order to seek advice from an unofficial aide.
Anadolu Agency By Alex Jensen