S. Korea Postpones Controversial Military Deal With Japan

A controversial military agreement between South Korea and Japan, scheduled for signing on Friday, was postponed at the last minute following strong backlash from South Korean political circles and the public over the sensitivity of a military pact with its former colonial ruler.

Many South Koreans still resent Japan for its brutal three-and-a-half decade-long colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula that ended in 1945, during which Korean women were forced into sexual slavery for Japanese soldiers.

Both the ruling and Opposition parties in the country have been calling on the government to publish details of the classified document, which the South Korean Cabinet approved on Tuesday.

Opposition says the accord would only intensify military confrontation in northeast Asia.

Shortly before the deal's scheduled signing in Tokyo at 4:00 p.m., South Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae announced that it is holding off.

He told reporters that the government would consult legislators at the opening session of the 19th National Assembly before going ahead. Seoul is in talks with its counterparts in Tokyo over the next steps.

The South Korea-Japan General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) would have enabled the militaries of the two countries, both close U.S. allies, to exchange intelligence about North Korea's threatening missile and nuclear programs and other defense issues.

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