SEOUL — South Korea, Japan, and the United States will sign a memorandum of understanding on sharing military intelligence about the nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
South Korea’s Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo, Japan’s Vice Defense Minister Masanori Nishi and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work will ink the pact in their country, respectively, without holding a signing ceremony, the South Korean news agency said, citing Seoul’s defense ministry.
“South Korea will deliver intelligence to the U.S., which in turn passes it on to Japan after South Korea’s approval. Japan will give intelligence to the U.S., which in turn forwards it to South Korea after Japan’s approval,” one South Korean defense ministry official was quoted as saying.
Under the pact, South Korea and Japan will not exchange military intelligence directly, and the shared intelligence will be limited to the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs.
Seoul and Tokyo pushed for the bilateral pact to share military intelligence on the DPRK in June 2012, but South Korea put the deal on hold at the last minute amid public uproar at home.
At that time, the Lee Myung-bak administration pushed the pact through without enough public debate for fear of possible opposition from the public.
Amid frayed ties between Seoul and Tokyo for historical and territorial disputes, South Korea set its basic policy at turning to the trilateral intelligence-sharing.
Military intelligence pacts were reached in 1987 between Washington and Seoul and in 2007 between Washington and Tokyo, but not between Seoul and Tokyo.