Korea and Japan will ink military agreement

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Korea and Japan will ink military agreement

Korea will sign a military agreement with Japan to exchange key military intelligence, a government source said yesterday.

The pact will be the first military cooperation agreement between Seoul and Tokyo since Japan’s colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.

“On its side, Korea is in the final stages of reaching a General Security of Military Information Agreement [Gsomia] with Japan,” said an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday. “Once Japan completes its own procedures, we will officially announce the signing of the military pact.”

On Tuesday, the Korean cabinet approved the intelligence-sharing deal, nearly completing the domestic procedures for the accord.

Diplomatic sources in Seoul say that the Japanese cabinet is likely to endorse the agreement this Friday when its holds a regular meeting after making final adjustments. The pact does not need parliamentary approval in either country.

According to Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, under the Gsomia, the two nations will share sensitive military intelligence such as information on North Korea’s nuclear program and weapons of mass destruction.

Korea has similar military deals with 24 countries, including the United States, Canada, France, Russia, and Poland.

It was in January 2011 that Korea’s Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin and Japan’s then-Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa agreed to launch working-level talks at a time when security was heightened after North Korea’s shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010. North Korea also unsuccessfully tested a long-range rocket in April, and the two furthered negotiations.

“Some say we were forced to sign the agreement with Japan by the United States, but that’s not true,” the ministry source said. The agreement allows Korea to have access to information collected using Japan’s intelligence satellites and early warning aircraft, which could help Korea react to emergencies.

The Foreign Ministry said it has postponed signing an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement which would have allowed the two nations to exchange basic military supplies, like fuel, considering the public’s negative sentiment toward Japan.

By Lee Eun-joo[angie@joongang.co.kr]
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