South Korea to end intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid trade disputes

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, center, clap with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha, left, and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono during a ceremony to launch a book after their trilateral meeting at Gubei Town in Beijing Wednesday.

The report, to be approved at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September, will maintain the assessment that North Korea's military activities pose a "serious and imminent threat", the Yomiuri said.

"We are ready for both dialogue and standoff".

The news could not come at a worse time, given the growing might of China in the region and its burgeoning military alliance with Russian Federation, as well as the continued threat from North Korea. "I can not help saying they are completely misreading the security environment". "Intel sharing is key to developing our common defense policy and strategy".

Signed in November 2016, Gsomia is renewed automatically every year unless either of the two countries decides to scrap the pact, in which case it must provide the other with at least a 90 days' notice.

The pact would have renewed automatically after August 24, as each side is bound by a three-month window to inform the other of any intent to withdraw.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday that it will try to maintain a "stable and flawless combined security posture" with the United States regardless of the termination of the intelligence deal.

Tokyo-Seoul ties have been highly strained recently over trade and historical issues.

Earlier this month, Japan dropped South Korea off its whitelist of trusted trading partners that are given preferential export procedure.

Japan last month tightened curbs on exports to South Korea of three high-tech materials needed to make memory chips and display panels. "Regardless, it is important to continue working together in areas that require collaboration", he added.

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Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and special envoy on North Korea Steve Biegun have reportedly nudged America's allies to patch up their differences.

The Pentagon voiced "strong concern and disappointment" at Seoul's decision.

In the first seven months of 2019, South Korea was Vietnam's third largest export market at almost $3 billion and accounting for 7.37 percent of Vietnam's export turnover.

Although the tested weapons do not threaten the USA mainland, they are still breaches of UN resolutions, with the UNSC discussing the ongoing tests at a closed-door session of the UN Security Council (UNSC) at the beginning of August. "They're supposed to be allies".

Mr. Biegun was speaking a day after the US and South Korean militaries ended their regular drills that North Korea calls an invasion rehearsal.

South Korea's won currency extended losses against the dollar in offshore non-deliverable forward trade, falling by some 0.4% against the dollar in five minutes after the announcement on concern that trade disputes with Japan could be drawn out.

Some in Seoul fear the timing is especially bad, speculating U.S. President Donald Trump may use the issue to gain leverage against South Korea in upcoming cost-sharing negotiations.

South Korea's 2018 Defence White Paper, released in January, reported that North Korea's ability to miniaturise nuclear weapons "appears to have reached a considerable level".

"The relationship between Japan and South Korea is in a very severe situation with the series of extremely negative and irrational moves by South Korea, including the decision this time", said Kono. "Our alliance with Japan is an essential part of that", he said. "We'll continue to pursue bilateral and trilateral defense and security cooperation where possible with Japan and the ROK".

  • Sonia Alvarado