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Japan pact prompts new 'cold war' fears
Accord will see sharing of military intelligence on North Korea, ChinaSouth Korean and US soldiers participate in joint military exercises
- Stephen Hong, Seoul
- June 28, 2012
The South Korean cabinet approved the measure, which will include information on North Korean and Chinese activities,Â in a closed-door agreement on Tuesday, he said.
The two governments are expected to sign the General Security of Military Information Agreement tomorrow.
The move is alreadyÂ attracting criticism by activists.
â€śMilitary cooperation with Japan could resultÂ in a new cold war around the Korean peninsula,â€ť a conglomerate of civic groups said yesterday. The Citizenâ€™s Solidarity for Peace and Unification (CSPU) urged the South Korean government not toÂ sign theÂ agreement.
Military decisions are not subject to public hearings or National Assembly debate, only presidential approval.
The agreement was influenced by the United States in an attempt to curb Chinaâ€™s power, said Lee Jang-hi, professor of international law in Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. He warned that the decision â€świll revive theÂ cold war of the 1960sâ€ť
However, Kim Young-woo, spokesperson of the ruling Saenuri Party, said in a statement yesterday that the country has already signed bilateral military intelligence accords with 24 countries including the US, Canada, Australia and Russia, and opposition to this agreement was indicative of anti-Japan sentiment.
Anti-Japan sentiment in Korea centers around Japanâ€™s sovereignty claims over the islets of Dokdo and failure to apologize for its conscription of laborers and sex slaves during its colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.
The opposition party characterized the move as â€śbreaking the security equilibriumâ€ť of the region and â€śsupporting Japanese militarists.â€ť
â€śThe existing South Korea-US alliance is enough for peace and security on the peninsula,â€ť said Lee Gyu-ui, vice-spokesperson of the Democratic United Party.
Council opposes war games