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Defense ministry sets out to normalize military intelligence-sharing deal with Japan

March 17, 2023 - 21:59 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk Yeol(left) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (Yonhap)

The defense ministry initiated the process to normalize a military intelligence-sharing deal with Japan on Friday, following a summit agreement between the leaders of both countries the previous day.

The defense ministry said it sent a letter to the foreign ministry requesting measures to normalize the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA).

The foreign ministry is soon expected to send an official letter to its Japanese counterpart in response, officials said.

On Thursday, President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed to "completely normalize" the military pact as part of efforts to better respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

The agreement was made during their summit aimed at mending bilateral ties long strained by historical disputes related to Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910-45.

Signed in 2016, GSOMIA was seen as a rare symbol of security cooperation between Seoul and Tokyo.

In 2019, the former administration of President Moon Jae-in decided to terminate it in protest of Tokyo's export restrictions against Seoul amid disputes over Japan's mobilization of Koreans into forced labor during World War II.

The decision was later put on hold but caused vulnerability to the agreement's ground of legal justification. (Yonhap)