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People's Daily Online

S.Korea assesses new U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guideline

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:49, April 28, 2015

SEOUL, April 28 -- South Korea on Tuesday assessed the new guideline for defense cooperation between the United States and Japan 'neither positively nor negatively' due to remaining concerns over military operation of Japanese forces in and around the Korean Peninsula.

Under the new guideline, revised for the first time since 1997, Japan will have the right to exercise collective self-defense, being allowed to defend not just its own territory, but also the United States and other third countries if needed.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the new guideline reflected what Seoul has demanded for its security and national interests. The country has called for making clear Japan' s position that its forces could be used only for the purpose of defense, not for attack.

The new guideline stipulated that Japan would respect the third country's sovereignty when exercising its right to collective self- defense, but it failed to make it clear that Japan must get an advance approval from South Korea if it exercises the right on the Korean Peninsula.

The ministry anticipated continued transparency and close cooperation with South Korea in future consultations between the United States and Japan for materializing and detailing the guideline, indicating the need for Japan's advance approval from South Korea for military operation in and around the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea was colonized by the militaristic Japan between 1910 and 1945, with many South Koreans worrying about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reluctance to apologize for wartime wrongdoings of the past and his seeking to reinterpret the peace constitution in July last year to possibly abuse self-defense forces.

The deal came as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe embarked on a week-long trip to the U.S. He is scheduled to hold summit talks with President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday local time, followed by a speech at a joint session of Congress a day later.

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