Japan, South Korea sign preliminary intelligence-sharing pact on North Korea

9 2016 members from a civic group hold a press conference to show their objections to the intelligence-sharing pact with Japan in front of a government building in Seoul

South Korea's main opposition parties had earlier threatened to dismiss the country's defense minister if the deal is inked.

The Japan-Korea GSOMIA was tentatively signed on Monday in response to the rising level of North Korean provocations in 2016. The talks were revived on Nov 1, about four years after Seoul walked out of the deal in 2012 as a result of domestic opposition.

"I've received emails from a North Korea translation company starting in 2013 under the title of 'Application for International Patent in South and North Korea, '" the Radio Free Asia (RFA) cited a Korean-American lawyer as saying.

This year alone Pyongyang has conducted two underground nuclear tests and dozens of ballistic missile tests.

Both sides reopened talks last month following North Korea's continued advances in its nuclear and missile programmes, which are seen as a threat in both countries. For South Korea, the benefits include having indirect access to Japan's increasingly formidable surveillance assets, including spy satellites, missile-detecting Aegis destroyers, advanced radar and anti-submarine equipment.

This undated captured image from Yonhap News TV shows from left to right a nuclear facility in North Korea the North Korean flag and the U.S. THAAD advanced missile defense system

Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that discussions in the third round of the talks had reached an agreement and that a provisional signing had taken place.

"The opposition Democratic Party, which seeks her resignation over the Choi Soon Sil controversy, said the move to sign a deal to share defence intelligence with Japan is unpatriotic, humiliating and not accepted by history". It added that the deal is "the first step towards allowing and recognising Japan's military rise".

Talks were reopened a week after the two countries and the USA met at a Security Consultative Meeting last month.

Questions remain as to whether the pact could be effectively implemented even after it is signed, as South Korean President Park Geun-hye's government is now in a political limbo due to a recent scandal, analysts here said. The agreement also came after the election win of Mr Trump, who pledged to get Tokyo and Seoul to shoulder a greater burden in their security alliance during his campaign.



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