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S. Korea puts off signing military deal with Japan
Publication Date : 30-06-2012
The South Korean government has decided to postpone signing the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan.
According to news reports citing anonymous diplomatic sources, Seoul has decided to postpone the signing until after the issue has been explained to the National Assembly, as requested by the political parties.
The plans to sign the pact on Friday, despite the Ministry of National Defence’s earlier position that the issue will be handled with more care, raised strong criticism from politicians as ignoring the public sentiment. The agreement was to be signed on Friday in Tokyo by the Japanese foreign minister and South Korean ambassador to Japan at 4pm.
Seoul’s Defence Ministry had originally planned to sign the information-sharing agreement along with the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement at the end of May.
However, the ministry said at the end of May that the plans had been put on hold due to concerns from the political arena that the issue was being handled too hastily.
However, it was revealed this week that the Cabinet had approved the plans to sign the General Security of Military Information Agreement and that the pact would be signed on Friday.
The General Security of Military Information Agreement allows the militaries of concerned countries to share information on various issues including those regarding search-and-rescue missions as well as North Korea-related intelligence.
According to the Defence Ministry, signing the agreement with Japan is essential in monitoring activities in North Korea as the Japanese Self-Defence Forces operate a number of advanced reconnaissance equipment.
Seoul and Tokyo have been working to narrow differences regarding the issue since January 2011 but the processes have been delayed by various Korea-Japan issues, but the process was speeded up since early this year.