May 21, 2012 09:15
South Korea has proposed a military information-sharing pact with China. A senior Foreign Ministry official recently visited Beijing, where he briefed Chinese officials on Seoul's pursuit of such an agreement with Tokyo and made an unofficial proposal for such a similar pact.
"The treaty we're seeking with Tokyo is a limited agreement we've already concluded with 24 countries, including Russia and Ukraine, so there's no reason not to conclude a similar one with Beijing," a government official here said. "We're waiting for an answer from Beijing."
It would be South Korea's first military pact with China, which fought on the side of North Korea in the Korean War.
The proposal aims to pre-empt resistance from China to the pact with Japan, according to experts.
But China is wary of sending the wrong signal to ally North Korea. Already Seoul and Beijing are expanding military exchanges and cooperation based on their strategic partnership. The two chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and chiefs of military service as well as the defense ministers from both countries already meet regularly.
Meanwhile, the government decided to put off signing the military pact with Japan amid worries from opposition parties and civic groups that Tokyo has failed to change its position on wartime atrocities like the sexual enslavement of Korean "comfort women" for the imperial army.
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