South Korea said it would withdraw from an intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, extending their feud over trade measures and historical grievances into security cooperation and raising alarm in the U.S., their shared ally.
South Korea notified Japan of plans to withdraw from the three-year-old framework for exchanging classified military information, Deputy National Security Director Kim You-geun said Thursday in Seoul. The move came despite the urging of U.S. officials including President Donald Trump for the two allies to work together amid shared security challenges from China and North Korea.
Kim cited Japan’s recent decision to remove South Korea from a list of trusted export countries, saying it “brought about a significant change to the environment of defense cooperation.” He said “South Korea judged that maintaining an agreement meant for the exchange of sensitive military information is not fitting for our national interests.”
The decision shows the growing stakes for the unprecedented feud between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, escalating from diplomatic sniping to trade measures that could threaten global supply chains. While the impact of withdrawing from the intelligence pact wasn’t clear, it underscored the hurdles that Washington faces in getting the countries to work together on regional security initiatives.
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