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S.Korea to end intelligence pact with Japan

2019-08-22

The South Korean government says it is not going to renew an agreement on the sharing of military intelligence. Bilateral relations have been souring over various issues including trade and wartime labor.

The deputy director of South Korea's presidential national security office, Kim You-geun, said the government had concluded that the agreement on the exchange of military intelligence was not in line with the country's national interests.

The presidential office cited Japan's plan to tighten controls on exports to South Korea next week. It said Japan has not shown any clear grounds, and the decision has greatly changed the environment for security cooperation.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said, "The government made a difficult decision after considering various factors. We especially weighed matters of trust with Japan."

The South Korean foreign minister says terminating the intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan will not affect the country's relations with the US.

The agreement has been automatically renewed every year since it was signed in 2016. Either side can withdraw by giving notice by Saturday.

Japan and the United States had urged South Korea to extend the agreement. They say three-way cooperation, including the intelligence-sharing pact, is essential to counter threats from North Korea.

The Japanese government has lodged a protest. A senior official at the defense ministry told NHK that South Korea's decision is unbelievable.

Bilateral ties became strained after rulings by the South Korean Supreme Court. It ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to South Koreans who say they were forced to work for them during World War Two.

The Japanese government maintains the issue on the right to claim compensation was settled by an agreement in 1965.



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