South Korean party voices against intelligence sharing with Japan

Seoul, Oct 28 (IANS) South Korea’s main opposition Minjoo Party on Friday expressed its strong objection to the resumption of talks with Japan on sharing military intelligence on North Korea.

Woo Sang-ho, floor leader of the party in parliament, said at a Supreme Council meeting that it can never be accepted to militarily join hands with Japan which has yet to sincerely repent over its past atrocities during the World War II and its colonisation of the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said the adoption of the military intelligence-sharing accord between Seoul and Tokyo will prop up Japan’s militaristic ambition, and urged the South Korean government to stop the talks which will enrage people again.

Seoul will reportedly resume talks with Japan to ink the deal soon, called General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), to share intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Former President Lee Myung-back was pushed to seal a hush-hush military deal with Japan in 2012, but it was scrapped at the last minute on public outcry over the closed-door attempt to endorse the intelligence-sharing agreement.

Under the deal, South Korea and Japan would directly exchange military intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes. Under the trilateral military pact signed in late 2014 with the US, Seoul and Tokyo have shared intelligence in an indirect way.

Park Jie-won, floor leader of the minor opposition People’s Party, also told a party meeting that the Seoul-Tokyo intelligence sharing pact will only boost Japan’s ambition toward militarism, and said the countries have shared intelligence through the US with the trilateral military deal.

Wondering why the government is pushing for the deal that will enrage people, Park said it will only speed up a new Cold War in the region that will further separate South Korea from China and Russia.

Public oppositions here to the military accord with Japan are expected as Japanese politicians have yet to show their sincerity and repentance over past atrocities in the early 1900s.

Victims of Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during the Second World War, euphemistically called “comfort women”, still call on the Japanese government to make a sincere apology and compensate for brutalities they suffered under Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule.