Japan, S Korea ink controversial intelligence deal
SOUTH Korea and Japan reached a controversial deal to share defence intelligence, Japanese officials said, despite protests from opposition parties and activists in Seoul.
Japan controlled the Korean peninsula as a colony from 1910 to 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 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 “reached a working agreement and conducted a provisional signing”, Japan’s foreign ministry said without providing details.
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 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.
They have voiced concern over Japan’s growing military ambitions under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, describing the deal as “the first step towards allowing and recognising Japan’s military rise”. –