SEOUL, July 5 (UPI) -- A senior security aide to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak offered to resign over the push to sign a military pact with Japan, the president's office said.
Senior External Policy Secretary Kim Tae-hyo has been criticized for allegedly mishandling the intelligence-sharing deal with Japan after it was learned the Cabinet approved the deal with Korea's former colonial ruler, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
Kim offered to step aside during a meeting with Lee, who is expected to accept his resignation, presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha said.
Park dismissed opposition calls for firing higher level officials, including Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, saying, "This is not an issue that the prime minister and the [foreign] minister should be held accountable for."
The president's office has begun an investigation into why the pact was handled so secretively and who was responsible, Park said. The investigation would continue regardless of Kim's resignation, he said.
The General Security of Military Information Agreement would allow Seoul and Tokyo to exchange military intelligence on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, as well as information about China, Seoul officials said.