SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's presidential Blue House said Thursday that it decided to scrap the military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan amid the trade spat between the two countries.
Kim You-geun, deputy director of the National Security Office (NSO) of the Blue House, told a press briefing that the government decided to end the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), saying it would notify the Japanese government of its decision through diplomatic channels.
South Korea and Japan signed the GOSMIA in November 2016 to share military intelligence on nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The GSOMIA had been automatically renewed each year in August. If either party wants to scrap the pact, the party will be required to notify the other of its intention 90 days ahead. This year's notification deadline falls on Aug. 24.
Kim said the Japanese government removed South Korea from its whitelist citing a security problem caused by the damaged trust between the two countries, noting that the removal caused a "grave change" in security cooperation between the two sides.
The Blue House official said the government came to a conclusion that it does not serve national interests to keep exchanging sensitive military information with Japan.
The decision was made amid the rising trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo, caused by Japan's tightened control last month on its export to South Korea of three materials vital to produce memory chips and display panels, which are the mainstay of the South Korean export.
Earlier this month, Japan dropped South Korea off its whitelist of trusted trading partners that are given preferential export procedure. In response, Seoul took Tokyo off its whitelist of trusted export partners.
Japan's export curbs came in an apparent protest against the South Korean top court's ruling that ordered some of Japanese companies, including Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries among others, to pay compensations to the South Korean wartime forced labor.
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans were forced by Imperial Japan into hard labor without pay during World War Ⅱ. The Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan from 1910 to 1945.
The GSOMIA was signed under the previous South Korean government amid the strong opposition from the South Korean people.
Many South Koreans saw the deal with Japan as unacceptable because the Japanese leadership had yet to sincerely apologize for its militaristic past.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told reporters that the decision to end GSOMIA was separate from the South Korea-U.S. alliance, saying Seoul and Washington will continue to strengthen cooperation, according to Yonhap news agency.
Kang noted that the decision was made because of trust problem between South Korea and Japan.