On Wednesday officials announced that South Korea will sign a military intelligence agreement with Japan. It will be the first such pact since Japan's colonial rule ended in 1945, the AFP reported.
The Yonhap news agency reported that the main focus of the pact is to share military intelligence about North Korea and its nuclear program. It will also call for the sharing of any information on China's growing military.
The New York Times noted that the announcement triggered a political firestorm in South Korea, where resentment of Japan’s colonization remains. Most South Koreans remain skeptical of Japan’s growing military role around Korea.
"Japan has a lot of intelligence on North Korea and the GSOMIA with Japan will benefit us a lot," a source told the Yonhap news.
The New York Times reported that officials in North Korea said that the need to share information about North Korea has grown more urgent with the increased uncertainty in the North as it goes through a sensitive transition of power following the death of Kim Jong-il last December.
"The internal process is being expedited in Japan, and the time frame for signing the agreement will be set as soon as the process is completed," the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement to the Japan Times.
The Yonhap news agency also quoted one US official as saying the US welcomes closer ties between its allies.