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Intelligence pact derided by the North

Dec 31,2014
Pyongyang Tuesday lambasted a pact among Seoul, Tokyo and Washington to share their intelligence to counter North Korean nuclear and missile threats, calling it a “military provocation.”

The trilateral intelligence-sharing pact is facing its share of domestic backlash because the South Korean Ministry of National Defensive furtively signed the agreement last Friday, three days before it said it would, blindsiding lawmakers and bewildering the public.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang’s state-run propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri called the agreement a U.S.-led provocation aimed at “invading our country.”

This comes as the isolated regime regained control after its major websites went down over the past week.

Propaganda websites such as Uriminzokkiri, which is managed by the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, have been stable since Monday.

North Korea experienced Internet outages for days, which it blamed on Washington.

This came after the FBI said Pyongyang was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures, seemingly in retaliation for its satirical comedy “The Interview.”

U.S. President Barack Obama vowed a “proportional” response to what he called “cyber vandalism.”

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) has criticized the signing of the intelligence sharing pact as “a unilateral move” that ignores the concerns of the National Assembly and people amid brewing controversy over the Defense Ministry’s lack of transparency in such a sensitive issue.

In a briefing Tuesday, Park Soo-hyun, an NPAD spokesman, requested that Kim Kwan-jin, Blue House chief of the National Security Office, and Defense Minister Han Min-koo be “reprimanded” for belatedly reporting the signing of the pact to the National Assembly.

He accused the ministry of signing the agreement secretly to circumvent any objections to it. Sharing of military information with Tokyo has been a sensitive issue here because it evokes Korea’s past history of colonization by the Japanese.

While some defense experts point out that defense issues and historical grievances should be separated, the Japanese leadership’s unapologetic attitude toward its wartime aggressions paired with its move to bolster its military power and claim a right to so-called collective self-defense has left Koreans apprehensive.

“Japan colonized us for 36 years and rather than repenting it has purported that Dokdo is its territory,” said Ahn Gyu-baek, deputy floor leader of the NPAD, at a policy meeting at the National Assembly on Tuesday. “It is against all reason to give our advanced information to such a country.”

He added, “Military issues must be ratified within the National Assembly. The government and the Ministry of National Defense hatched a plot to limit the negotiations because it was going to be difficult to get the acceptance of the people.”

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]







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