SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea plans to restart talks with Japan over a military intelligence sharing agreement to better cope with threats from North Korea, an official said Thursday.
Information from Japan's network of satellites and other intelligence-gathering systems would be critical in monitoring and preparing against North Korea's fast developing nuclear weapons and missile programs, the official from Seoul's Defense Ministry said. He didn't want to be named, citing office rules.
The United States, South Korea and Japan signed a joint intelligence-sharing pact in 2014, but under the frame work Seoul and Tokyo only share intelligence about North Korea's nuclear and missile programs via Washington.
A bilateral agreement between South Korea and Japan would enable a quicker transfer of information between the countries in urgent situations, said the South Korean official.
South Korea and Japan nearly signed a bilateral intelligence sharing pact in 2012, but Seoul backed off at the last minute following political outcry at home. Many South Koreans hold resentment over Japan's brutal occupation of the Korean Peninsula before the end of World War II and express uneasiness about the country's military role in the region.