FM calls for military intelligence pact with China

By 정주원
  • Published : Feb 10, 2014 - 17:46
  • Updated : Feb 10, 2014 - 17:51
South Korea should consider forging a pact with China on sharing military intelligence as part of efforts to boost mutual trust, Seoul's top diplomat said Monday.

"There is a need to review the necessity (for a South Korea-China military information sharing pact,)" Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said during a parliamentary interpellation session.

Yun made the remarks in response to ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker Song Young-keun's question of whether the two neighbors need a military pact for the purpose of promoting bilateral trust.

"South Korea and China have been cooperating in a variety of sectors since the launch of the new (Park Geun-hye) government last year, including in the defense segment," the foreign minister noted.

South Korea's previous attempt to sign the military intelligence sharing pact with Japan was suspended in mid-2012 as the government's steps taken secretly to forge the sensitive pact with the former colonial ruler inflamed public sentiment.

Meanwhile, South Korea is bracing for the possibility of a military skirmish between China and Japan over their disputed islands in the East China Sea, Yun also said, referring to the set of outcroppings called Senkaku in Japan or Diaoyu in China.

Recent remarks by the leaders of Asian neighbors have indicated the possibility of a military skirmish over the China-Japan military dispute, the minister said, adding that "We are also making all sorts of preparations (against that possibility.)"

Yun also said Seoul is reviewing various measures to resolve the diplomatic standoff with Tokyo, indicating Japan should first demonstrate sincerity toward resolving history-related issues with South Korea before any high-level talks between the two neighbors could resume.

"The biggest obstacle (in mending bilateral ties) is the Shinzo Abe government's revisionist remarks and behavior," he said. "In order for the two countries to have higher level talks, we need sincere measures from the Japanese side."

The Seoul-Tokyo ties have been severely frayed as of late, as the nationalist Shinzo Abe administration's remarks and actions aimed at whitewashing and glorifying its past wartime aggression drove a wedge between the neighbors.

South Korea, a major victim of Japan's imperialist atrocities during World II, has bitterly lamented the recent nationalist actions from Japan, including Abe's respect-paying visit in December to the Yasukuni war shrine, which honors World War II criminals along with other Japanese war dead.

Seoul has indefinitely delayed holding the first summit meeting between President Park Geun-hye and Abe amid the icy relations with Tokyo, with Park nearing her one-year anniversary of taking office. (Yonhap)