South Korea relies on US to share intelligence with Japan
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If they have much in common, starting with the US military umbrella they both enjoy, Japan and South Korea also have deep disagreements, such as for example the Liancourt Rocks which are claimed by Tokyo while administratively attached to the South Korean island of Ulleungdo. And that’s without counting the disputes inherited from history, and especially from the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
However, and according to the principle that it is better to look at the reasons for rapprochement rather than the factors of division, Tokyo and Seoul signed an agreement in November 2016 to facilitate the sharing of information between their respective intelligence services, without having to go through the United States, which until then had served as a transmission belt.
“Our security will be strengthened by the fact that we can use Japanese intelligence capabilities to deal with the growing North Korean threat,” said the South Korean Defense Ministry at the time.
However, this agreement was badly received by the South Korean public, for whom this cooperation with Japan was “unpatriotic” and “humiliating.” As for the North Korean leaders, they called it “treason” for the “sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
But the opponents of this agreement can now rejoice: the South Korean government has indeed decided to end it unilaterally.
“We decided that it was not in the national interest to maintain the agreement that was signed with the objective of exchanging sensitive military intelligence,” said a South Korean official on August 22.
It must be said that the relations between the two countries suffered a sharp deterioration in early August, with the decision of the South Korean justice to require Japanese companies to compensate South Koreans they had forced to work in South Korea. their factories during the Japanese occupation. In return, Tokyo has removed South Korea from its list of countries receiving preferential treatment. In return, Seoul did the same thing.
Be that as it may, the South Korean decision on GSOMIA has been hotly condemned by the Japanese authorities.
“I must say that the decision to end this pact by the South Korean government is a total misjudgment of the regional security situation and is extremely regrettable,” said Taro Kono, the Japanese foreign minister. “We can not accept the claims of the South Korean side and we will protest strongly to the South Korean government,” he added.
His Defense counterpart, Takeshi Iwaya, argued that the agreement was “vital” for regional security and that its removal would “make bilateral defense cooperation more difficult. In addition, he said, GNOSIA allowed for “a thorough and cautious exchange of information between the two sides” during “North Korean missile launches.”
In recent weeks, Pyongyang has fired ballistic missiles at a frequency that had not been seen for several months. And, according to the Japanese intelligence quoted by the Yomiuri daily, North Korean engineers have made considerable progress in the miniaturization of nuclear warheads. His South Korean counterpart had a similar conclusion last January.