National / Politics

North Korea urges South to scrap military intelligence-sharing deal with Japan

by Jesse Johnson

Staff Writer

North Korea has called for the scrapping of a military intelligence-sharing agreement between South Korea and Japan, calling it a “hurdle” to realizing the goals of the historic Panmunjom Declaration signed between the two Koreas on April 27.

The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between Tokyo and Seoul, reached in 2016, was part of a push by the neighbors to pool intelligence on North Korea as the nuclear-armed country ramped up its missile and atomic tests.

The deal was the subject of much vitriol by the North on Tuesday, with state-run media blasting it as “an extremely dangerous and treacherous war agreement.”

“Actions speak louder than words, and it is more important to yield fruits through bold practice,” a commentary by the Korean Central News Agency said late Tuesday. “The south Korean authorities should show the will to implement the Panmunjom Declaration by taking a bold decision to repeal the treacherous war agreement.”

The Panmunjom Declaration was the culmination of a rare inter-Korean summit late last month, when South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to work to remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula and, within the year, pursue talks with the United States to declare an official end to the Korean War, which ended in an armistice.

In the commentary, the North called the intelligence-sharing agreement part of a number of “dangerous hurdles” that it said “should be removed without fail as they harm the improvement of the inter-Korean relations and create a war crisis on the Korean peninsula.”

The agreement is a “disgrace on the nation when the north and the south promised to open a new era for the independent reunification, peace and prosperity by their concerted efforts,” it added.

The dispatch blamed ousted South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and “Japanese reactionaries” for pushing through the deal despite opposition from some political parties and a large section of the South Korean public, who remain bitter over Japan’s actions during its colonial rule of Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II in 1945.

The long-pending passage of the intelligence-sharing agreement two years ago met with high praise from then-U.S. President Barack Obama as it signified major progress toward Washington’s long-cherished goal of U.S.-South Korea-Japan trilateral security cooperation.