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Japan, South Korea expected to finalize intelligence sharing, Seoul says

By Elizabeth Shim
Members of Japan's Self-Defense Force conduct a joint military exercise. After years of postponement, Tokyo and Seoul are nearing a deal to share miliitary intelligence, according to the South Korean government. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/dcd93f3023a39b4e18978985b614af96/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Members of Japan's Self-Defense Force conduct a joint military exercise. After years of postponement, Tokyo and Seoul are nearing a deal to share miliitary intelligence, according to the South Korean government. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- South Korea is prepared to sign a military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, more than four years after talks were stalled due to public opposition.

Progress on the Japan-Korea GSOMIA negotiations has moved at a whirlwind pace since Nov. 1 and coincides with the announcement of the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

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Seoul's defense ministry said the deal could be signed into law after a third meeting is held next week, local news agency Yonhap reported.

Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said Friday meetings were held on Nov. 1 in Tokyo, Wednesday in Seoul and the two parties agreed quickly on key points.

"We have requested the foreign ministry to commission a preliminary legislative review of the agreement, based on the points we have so far," Moon said.

South Korea's cabinet must also review the agreement, according to the report.

The two sides have agreed on key points focusing on sharing classified military information, document transmission and destruction methods, as well as dispute resolution and countermeasures against losses.

Both countries have become concerned in the wake of North Korea's increased provocations in 2016. Pyongyang conducted two nuclear tests this year and test-fired dozens of ballistic missiles.

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While there has been relatively less opposition to the deal than in 2012, progressive politicians are voicing their criticism.

Yun Ho-jung of the Minjoo Party has said the opinions of the opposition were being ignored, and if the negotiations continue his party could ask the defense minister to resign, according to Yonhap.

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