South Korea has postponed the signing of a landmark military intelligence agreement with Japan following a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment in the East Asian nation.
According to the BBC, South Korea announced the news less than one hour before both countries were scheduled to formally sign their first military pact since Japanese colonial rule over the country came to a halt at the end of World War II.
The Yonhap news agency reported that the main focus of the pact was to share military intelligence about North Korea and its nuclear program. It would also call for the sharing of information on China's growing military.
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Japan approved the pact on Friday following South Korea’s approval earlier this week, but at the last minute the government in Seoul called off the signing ceremony in order to undertake further consultations before going ahead.
According to the Associated Press, the agreement had caused outcry in South Korea, with opponents staging protests and critics arguing that the government had given the pact the go-ahead without holding proper public debate.
According to CNN, Japan and South Korea have also been embroiled in a dispute over a group of islands known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in Korea. Tokyo insists that it enjoys sovereignty over all islets in the sea east of Korea, while Seoul claims that it regained all Korean territory once it secured independence in 1945.
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