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South Korea, Japan directly share their first military secrets on North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea, Japan directly share their first military secrets on North Korea
South Korea’s defense ministry said Friday Seoul and Tokyo are sharing classified military information. File Photo by Yonhap News Agency/UPI

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- South Korea and Japan shared classified information on North Korea nuclear weapons for the first time since November, when the two countries signed a military sharing agreement to better defend against North Korea threats.

"On the occasion of the Defense Trilateral Talks, based on the [Japan-Korea] GSOMIA agreement, information on North Korea's nuclear and missile threats was shared between South Korea and Japan during bilateral talks this morning," Seoul's defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun said Friday, according to Yonhap.

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The DTT was a meeting of the security alliance composed of the United States, Japan and South Korea that was held later in the day.

Moon told reporters Seoul and Tokyo had agreed to not disclose the details of shared military secrets and did not provide further explanation.

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Seoul and Tokyo last month agreed to share below "level 2" classified information.

The two sides also concurred to not disclose third-party information without the written consent of the information provider, to limit information sharing among appointed government officials and to inform the other party immediately if information was leaked or damaged.

Seoul's Deputy Defense Minister for Policy Yoo Jeh-seung and Tokyo's Director-General of Defense Policy Satoshi Maeda attended Friday's bilateral meeting.

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U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Kelly E. Magsamen later joined the two representatives for trilateral talks.

The three sides agreed to join forces to counter North Korea's missile threats with joint exercises and to strengthen cooperation on the implementation of United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolution 2321, according to Yonhap.

A South Korean defense official confirmed the United States and South Korea would continue to conduct joint drills Key Resolve and Ulchi Freedom Guardian, but Japan's self-defense forces would not be involved in those exercises.

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Japan's participation in exercises on the peninsula would be limited to search-and-rescue training, the Seoul defense official said.

The United States has previously expressed approval of the bilateral intelligence sharing agreement, but China has stated the deal is "not in line with the common interests of countries in the region."

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