Tokyo, Seoul Fail to Agree to Renew Intelligence Sharing Deal Week Before Expiry - Reports
TOKYO (Sputnik) - The defence ministers of Japan and South Korea failed to agree to extend the bilateral intelligence sharing pact on Sunday at their first meeting since October 2018, but reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation with the US on Pyongyang's missile and nuclear program, the Kyodo news agency reported.
The talks were held on the margins of a regional security meeting in Bangkok.
At the start of the talks, Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono urged Seoul to revise the decision to exit the pact, which is due to expire in a week, Japan's media outlet specified.
His South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, in turn, told reporters after the talks that the refusal to renew the treaty had followed Japan's decision to slap export restrictions on materials vital to Seoul's high-tech industries. The minister noted that he called for a "diplomatic solution."
Tensions between Seoul and Tokyo deepened during the summer over the issue of compensation for the use of forced labor by Japan during World War II. The rift has since expanded to mutual trade restrictions and even defense cooperation, with South Korea refusing to extend the intelligence sharing agreement with Japan in August.
Earlier in the week, US Defenсe Secretary Mark Esper warned the allies that the looming termination of the intelligence sharing pact would only play into the hands of Beijing and Pyongyang, urging them to resolve their differences and save the deal.
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