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South Korea to make decision on Japan intel sharing pact soon, report says

Kyodo

South Korea’s National Security Council will meet later Thursday to discuss whether to extend an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid an intensifying spat between the two neighbors, the country’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to Yonhap, President Moon Jae-in will make the final decision after hearing from council members about the meeting’s outcome, which could come by the end of the day at the earliest.

An announcement on whether the pact will be continued is likely to be made by Friday at the latest, the report said.

The news agency reported that the government is expected to extend the General Security of Military Information Agreement, given the importance of military cooperation between the United States, South Korea and Japan.

However, there are also voices calling for the abolition of the agreement as a countermeasure against the recent strengthening of export controls by the Japanese government, with the decision by the Moon administration becoming a major focus of attention both within and outside the country.

The pact, signed in November 2016, allows the U.S. allies to share sensitive information on missile threats from North Korea. It automatically renews annually unless one of the countries decides to pull out by Aug. 24.

Seoul has recently suggested it may not allow an extension in response to Tokyo’s tightening of export controls on some materials crucial to the South Korean technology industry.

Visiting U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun met with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon on Wednesday, during which he highlighted the importance of the partnership between the three countries.

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