Amid the political crisis that's engulfed South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the government in Seoul reached a controversial agreement to share intelligence on North Korea with Japan. Opposition leaders accused the government of trying to divert attention from the scandal surrounding the President. we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.
American officials have long been bewildered and exasperated by the animosity between its two key partners in Northeast Asia. Natural allies, in Washington's view, in the face of a bellicose North Korea and an ever more powerful China. But hard feelings over the brutal Japanese occupation of Korea persist.
Just four years ago, Seoul pulled out of a similar intelligence sharing arrangement at the last minute when anti-Japanese demonstrations swept the country. Each country offers special expertise, Japan's high tech surveillance and South Korea's human intelligence...in other words, its spies. In the absence of an agreement, each country can only access the other's information through the U.S., a cumbersome arrangement when North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities improve with every test.
There was a protest outside the Presidential Palace in Seoul after a preliminary agreement was announced on Monday...it will take effect after President Park endorses it and after its signed by South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo and the Japanese ambassador. The Kyoto News Agency reported that the signing is expected before the end of November and maybe as soon as this week. If it happens, the South Korean opposition vows to impeach the defense minister for the agreement, and impeach the president for the scandal.