Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 16th, 2019

South Korea Reverses Decision to Suspend Intelligence Deal with Japan

South Korea Reverses Decision to  Suspend Intelligence Deal with Japan

SEOUL/NAGOYA, Japan - South Korea on Friday said it would not suspend its intelligence-sharing deal with Japan, in a dramatic, last-minute reversal that signaled a breakthrough after months of frigid relations over their painful wartime history.
The decision, announced by South Korea’s presidential Blue House, is likely to be hailed by Washington, which has put pressure on its two Asian allies to set aside a long-burning feud and maintain the pact. The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) is seen as linchpin of trilateral security cooperation in Asia.
The diplomatic thaw also has potential implications for trade. Japan has this year put export curbs on materials used to make semiconductors, threatening the global supply chain of chips that are a pillar of the South Korean economy.
“This government has decided to suspend our notice of Aug. 23 on the Korea-Japan intelligence agreement on the condition the agreement can be terminated at any time,” said Kim You-geun, deputy director of South Korea’s national security office.
“Japan has expressed its understanding,” Kim said in a briefing.
The announcement came just hours before the intelligence-sharing pact was due to expire.
South Korea had given Japan notice in August that it would stop sharing intelligence, retaliating after Tokyo put the restrictions on the export of the chip components.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said South Korea had made a “strategic decision” in sticking with the intelligence-sharing pact and that bilateral relations were vital.
Japan’s trade ministry said it hoped to hold talks with South Korea on export controls but it would not immediately put South Korea back on the trade “white list” that fast-tracks exports to the neighboring country. (Reuters)