Japan expresses regret over end of intelligence-sharing deal with South Korea

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said every effort would be made to ensure that society did away with discrimination against those with handicaps [Ludovic Marin-AFP]

Japan on Friday expressed regret at South Korea’s decision to terminate a joint military intelligence-sharing deal.

By taking this step, South Korea was damaging the trusting relationship between the two countries, conservative Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

The government in Seoul had unexpectedly announced that it was ending its agreement with x which was set up to share information about North Korean nuclear and missile activities.

Mr Abe said joint cooperation with the US would be unaffected and called on South Korea to “keep its promises”.

Ties between the two sides began fraying last October when South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Japanese companies to compensate victims of forced labour during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945.

The court ruling has escalated into a tit-for-tat trade dispute that further soured relations.

In its announcement on Thursday that the intelligence pact would be abandoned, South Korea’s presidency said recent trade restrictions imposed by Tokyo had done damage to their security cooperation.

In early July, Mr Abe’s government imposed restrictions on South Korea-bound shipments of materials used in semiconductors and smartphone production.

On August 2, it then approved plans to remove South Korea from a white list of trusted trading partners, sparking protests from Seoul.

South Korea followed by announcing its own plans to downgrade Japan’s trade status.

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