South Korea Refuses to Sign Japan Pact at Last Minute

Koreans still smarting over Japan's colonial rule
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2012 8:40 AM CDT
South Korea Refuses to Sign Japan Pact at Last Minute
Foreign Ministry's Press Secretary Yutaka Yokoi at a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo today, shortly after a planned signing between Japan and South Korea on an intelligence sharing pact was postponed.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, Pool)

An intelligence-sharing pact between South Korea and Japan that had been called a breakthrough between the countries after decades of acrimony was postponed at the last minute today following a political outcry in Seoul, reports the AP. The non-combat military agreement, which was called "historic" by Japan's foreign minister, was approved by the countries' Cabinets and was ready to be formally signed today. But an hour before the signing, a backlash caused by Koreans still angry about the legacy of Japan's colonial rule forced Seoul to back down and agree to further discuss the pact with the public and the National Assembly.

Security analysts said the agreement would go far in enabling Japan and South Korea to communicate intel gained about North Korea's nuclear program and China's military operations. "An accord for military-information protection with Japan is necessary given the ever-growing threat from the North," wrote a leading South Korean newspaper in an editorial. "The more quality information we have about the North, the better our security." (More South Korea stories.)

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