• Kyodo

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South Korea has decided to restart talks with Japan on signing a bilateral agreement on sharing sensitive military information, a South Korean Defense Ministry official said Thursday.

The working-level talks for concluding a General Security of Military Information Agreement “will not take long,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Such an accord would provide Tokyo and Seoul with a bilateral channel for exchanging sensitive information on military affairs and prevent it from falling into the hands of a third country.

Yonhap News Agency quoted an unnamed South Korean government official as saying, “Information-sharing among South Korea, the United States and Japan can’t be further delayed after North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats have become real ones.”

In 2012, Tokyo and Seoul came close to agreeing on a similar bilateral deal, but it was aborted at the eleventh hour due to opposition in South Korea stemming from Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula before and during World War II.

South Korea’s decision to launch talks on the matter was made at the initiative of the Japanese side, Yonhap said.

In 2014, South Korea, Japan and the United States signed a memorandum of understanding on sharing and safeguarding classified information about North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

The memorandum enables the Japan and South Korean defense ministries to share information through the U.S. Department of Defense in the absence of a formal intelligence-sharing accord between the two nations.

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