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Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 17:56

ROK-Japan intel-sharing pact takes effect

By Agencies
ROK-Japan intel-sharing pact takes effect
This handout photo taken on Nov 23, 2016 and released by South Korea's Defence Ministry shows South Korean Defence Minister Han Min-Koo (R) and Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine (L) during a signing ceremony of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) at the defense ministry in Seoul. ( HO / South Korea's Defence Ministry / AFP)

SEOUL — The Republic of Korea (ROK) says its intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan has taken effect after the two countries signed the pact to better monitor the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The intelligence sharing deal takes effect after the two countries signed a pact to better monitor the DPRK

The ROK and Japan had so far exchanged military intelligence via the United States under a trilateral agreement signed in 2014. But the two Asian neighbors had no direct intelligence-sharing system largely because of disputes stemming from Japan's colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

ROK defense minister and Japan's ambassador in Seoul signed the deal Wednesday. Seoul's Foreign Ministry says the pact has taken effect.

Worries about DPRK weapons programs have grown after the DPRK conducted its fifth and most powerful atomic bomb test in September.

The ROK has hurriedly pushed the accord as part of efforts to find a breakthrough by regaining support from conservative voters sensitive to security issues.

ROK's three main opposition parties have opposed the hurried, unilateral push, saying they will propose the impeachment of the defense minister if it is signed.

Public objections are strong. According to a Gallup Korea poll released on Friday, 59 percent opposed the deal with Japan unrepentant of its brutalities during World War II. The Korean Peninsula was colonized by the Imperial Japan from 1910 to 1945.

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