South Korea to withdraw from Japan intelligence sharing agreement as spat deepens

Today, South Korea will end its military intelligence sharing agreement known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement with

south korean japan protests

Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty

Today, South Korea will end its military intelligence sharing agreement known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement with Japan. South Korea’s departure is the latest symptom of an ongoing diplomatic row with Japan.

Struck in 2016, the agreement enables the two countries to share a wide range of military intelligence, primarily in relation to North Korea’s missile and nuclear capabilities. Although information was shared only 48 times over the last three years, Japan’s geospatial capabilities and South Korea’s significant human intelligence resources positioned the pact as a potent tool to combat threats emanating from Pyongyang.

Under a separate agreement, Seoul and Tokyo can still share military intelligence via the US. However, the resultant delay could prove critical in a crisis. Also, this is a major step backward for the US’s strategy of having the two countries co-operate in order to combat Beijing’s and Moscow’s increasing dominance in the region.

The US has adopted a neutral posture towards its feuding allies so far. With the intelligence deal expected to end today, the collapse of this key agreement may well prompt Washington into action.

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