UPDATE: According to VOA’s Steve Herman, the Korean government has postponed the signing of the intel agreement “to allow explanation of it to #ROK Nat’l Assembly.” Now THAT should prove entertaining. And ultimately pointless.
It would seems so, but first, a couple more reactions to the intel agreement with Japan.
The Hankyoreh, of course, is having fun with this, finding all sorts of folk to throw around the words “traitors,” “pro-Japanese,” “Eulsa Treaty,” etc.
Opposition floor leader Park Jie-won had this to say:
“We should not give away our classified military information to Japan which intends to go nuclear,” said Park Jie-won, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic United Party (DUP), Thursday. “People here still have animosity toward Japan’s claim on Dokdo and the issue of comfort women. It should be discussed at the National Assembly before going into effect.”
Hmm, don’t like secretly giving stuff to countries that intend to go nuclear, eh? I find unintentional irony amusing sometimes.
The Hanguk Gyeongje talked with experts, including former military guys, who said they aren’t expecting much from Japan in terms of intel on North Korea, but they did say the military sharing agreement might help in regards to intel on China.
The JoongAng Ilbo ran an interesting editorial on the agreement—the paper agreed with the need for it, but frowned on how the government had brought controversy onto itself by pushing it in secret. Frankly, though, listening to the opposition since news of the agreement broke, I understand why the talks were conducted behind closed doors. Secret diplomacy has its uses—just ask Park Jie-won.
Having said that, while secret diplomacy can be useful, outright lying can be dangerous. The government claims that Japan first proposed a military intelligence sharing agreement in 2010, but government sources told the Segye Ilbo that in 2008, the Korean Ministry of Defense proposed to Japan the signing of an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA).
A military official said Korea and Japan use similar weapons, and in particular, they use many of the same kinds of ammunition. Korea, which has limited ammo stores, really needed help from Japan, which has big stores of special ammunition.
The official added that in particular, Korea couldn’t help but consider Japan as an ammo source to help with ammo shortfalls, which appeared every Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise, and in preparation for emergencies on the Korean Peninsula.
The Segye Ilbo said Japan was positive about the Korean offer, but things came to naught due to public sentiment and the Dokdo issue. It also said military authorities, who have the real problem of ammo supply to consider, have wanted an ACSA concluded with Japan prior to a military intelligence agreement; for this reason, they’ve continued to discuss the matter with Japan until recently.
Now, however, such discussions have been suspended. A high-ranking Ministry of Defense official told the Segye Ilbo (actually, he told a lot of reporters, apparently) that since an ACSA is a purely military-to-military agreement, it was still too soon, although they may reconsider at a later time when the public can understand.
MARMOT’S NOTE: Yeah, it’s easy to attack Korean public opinion on this, and I certainly won’t try to defend it. I will point out that it takes two to tango, though—if Japan would just cut the crap about Dokdo, Japan might actually gain an important regional ally, which is worth a lot more than two shit-covered rocks Japan will never get anyway.