Ja­pan, S Korea ink con­tro­ver­sial in­tel­li­gence deal

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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”. –

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