Ja­pan, S Korea ink con­tro­ver­sial in­tel­li­gence deal

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

South Korea and Ja­pan reached a con­tro­ver­sial deal yes­ter­day to share de­fense in­tel­li­gence, Ja­panese of­fi­cials said, de­spite protests from op­po­si­tion par­ties and ac­tivists in Seoul. Ja­pan con­trolled the Korean penin­sula as a colony from 1910-1945, with the legacy of the harsh rule mar­ring re­la­tions with both North and South Korea today. South Korea and Ja­pan were on the verge of sign­ing a deal in June 2012, but Seoul sud­denly back­tracked, with Ja­panese me­dia blam­ing anti-Ja­panese sen­ti­ment among the South Korean pub­lic for the move.

Both sides re­opened talks last month fol­low­ing North Korea’s con­tin­ued ad­vances in its nu­clear and mis­sile pro­grams, which are seen as a threat in both coun­tries. Of­fi­cials meet­ing in Ja­pan’s cap­i­tal “reached a work­ing agree­ment and con­ducted a pro­vi­sional sign­ing,” Ja­pan’s for­eign min­istry said in a state­ment, with­out pro­vid­ing de­tails. “We will con­tinue mak­ing fi­nal ar­range­ments to­ward the of­fi­cial sign­ing,” the state­ment said.

The is­sue re­mains di­vi­sive in South Korea and the tim­ing comes as the coun­try has seen mas­sive street demon­stra­tions call­ing for the res­ig­na­tion of Pres­i­dent Park Geun-Hye over a do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal scan­dal. The deal has been fiercely op­posed by South Korean op­po­si­tion par­ties and civic ac­tivists, cit­ing Seoul’s fail­ure to seek pub­lic sup­port and his­tor­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ties. “Ja­pan, which once oc­cu­pied the Korean penin­sula and en­slaved Kore­ans with its mil­i­tary might, is still not ad­mit­ting a lot of its past atroc­i­ties,” the main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party said in a state­ment yes­ter­day be­fore the agree­ment was an­nounced.

“This deal is an un­pa­tri­otic, hu­mil­i­at­ing deal that is op­posed by our own peo­ple and not ac­cepted by his­tory.” The party also voiced con­cern over Ja­pan’s grow­ing mil­i­tary am­bi­tions un­der Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, de­scrib­ing the deal as “the first step towards al­low­ing and rec­og­niz­ing Ja­pan’s mil­i­tary rise.” How­ever Tokyo lauded the agree­ment, say­ing the move was “im­por­tant” for check­ing North Korea’s power. “It is im­por­tant that Ja­pan and South Korea co­op­er­ate to deal with North Korea’s nu­clear and mis­sile is­sues,” top Ja­panese gov­ern­ment spokesman Yoshi­hide Suga told re­porters. — AFP

KARACHI: Peo­ple of­fer fu­neral prayers for the vic­tims of bomb blast at a shrine, in Karachi, Pak­istan. — AP

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