South Korea Approves Military Intelligence Sharing Pact With Japan

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:08 AM, November 22, 2016
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South Korea Approves Military Intelligence Sharing Pact With Japan
South Korean civic groups as well as students hold signs as police officers stop them during a rally opposing the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between South Korea and Japan on November 22. (Photo Credit: Fox News)

South Korea on Tuesday has approved intelligence sharing pact with Japan, known as General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) to counter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

The discussion on the controversial intellegence sharing pact was resumed on October 27 after four years gap.

Defense Minister Han Min-koo and Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine will officially sign the agreement in Seoul on Wednesday, Yonhap News Agency reported today.

The pact, when implemented, will allow the two countries to share information on North Korea without having to going through the US.

The signing of GSOMIA with Japan will help South Korea fully utilize Japan's advanced information-gathering capabilities on the North's nuclear and missile programs.

Japan's satellite images as well as its information on submarine-launched ballistic missiles of North Korea will help South Korea to take defensive measures.

The government believes that quicker information sharing is critical as North Korea has increased its disturbing moves. On the other hand, the opposition bloc, reflecting general negative views toward Japan, has been against the pact from the outset.

South Korea sought to sign the deal in 2012, but it was eventually scrapped as the opposition questioned the transparency of the preparation procedures.

In December 2014, South Korea, the US and Japan signed a preliminary deal that calls for the voluntary sharing of military secrets on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. The deal allows Seoul and Tokyo to share such intelligence via the US after their bilateral pact fell through in 2012.

Pyongyang's repeated provocations have provided strong momentum for Seoul and Tokyo to resume discussions about the GSOMIA. The isolated country conducted two underground nuclear tests this year alone, following the detonations of nuclear devices in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Currently, Seoul maintains pacts with 32 countries for sharing military information. It has recently asked China to start negotiations on such a pact, but China has not yet responded. 

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