Seoul wants a “complete normalization” of a 2016 military agreement with Tokyo that enables sharing military secrets.
South Korea will fully implement a key military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan, a Defense Ministry official told AFP on Saturday, as the two countries move to thaw long-frozen relations.
At a summit on Thursday, the neighbors agreed to turn the page on a bitter dispute over Japan’s use of war-time forced labor.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol had flown to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the first such summit in 12 years.
According to reports, Yoon told Kishida that he wanted a “complete normalization” of a 2016 military agreement called the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which enables the two US allies to share military secrets, particularly over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile capacity.
Following the summit, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry was asked “to proceed with the needed measures to normalize the agreement,” said a Defense Ministry official, who declined to be named.
The South Korean Foreign Ministry is expected to send a formal letter to its Japanese counterpart soon, the official noted.
Seoul had threatened to scrap GSOMIA in 2019 as relations with Tokyo soured over trade disputes and a historical row stemming from Japan’s 35-year colonial rule over the peninsula.
In response, an alarmed United States said that calling off the pact would only benefit the DPRK (North Korea) and China.
Hours before it was set to expire, South Korea agreed to extend GSOMIA “conditionally”, but warned it could be “terminated” at any moment.