Japan slams South Korea’s decision to scrap intel-sharing as ‘completely mistaken response’
Seoul’s decision not to extend its agreement with Japan on exchanging military intelligence has sparked an angry reaction in Tokyo, which branded the move as absolutely inadequate, as the row between the two neighbors escalates.
The deal in question – the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) – is set to expire on August 24. It allowed both nations to share classified information, particularly on North Korea. The decision not to prolong it delivers a “completely mistaken response,” according to Foreign Minister Taro Kono. He warned that Seoul is misreading the existing security environment.
Tokyo also summoned the South Korean ambassador to lodge a formal protest over the move, which comes at a time as both states are locked in a bitter trade row.
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Japan earlier removed its neighbor from the whitelist of trading partners, citing South Korea’s allegedly lax re-export rules, which reportedly allowed some of its sensitive materials to land up in the hands of Pyongyang.
Seoul denied the accusations and in turn downgraded Japan’s trading status. It also alleged that Tokyo’s actions were in fact provoked by a South Korean court ruling allowing locals to demand compensation from Japanese companies over forced labor during colonial occupation.
Seoul also recently argued that restrictions Japan imposed on trade with South Korea have drastically changed the security environment. Without GSOMIA, the flow of intelligence information is likely to go through their common ally – the US.
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