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North Korea lashed on Friday at a new South Korea-Japan intelligence-sharing accord, accusing Seoul of a gross act of betrayal with the “sworn enemy” of the Korean people. The deal to share defence intelligence – largely driven by the growing threat of the North’s nuclear and missile programmes – was reached and provisionally signed in Tokyo on Monday.
It was a controversial move in South Korea, where the legacy of Japan’s harsh 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula is a deep well of anti-Japanese sentiment and a belief that Tokyo has never properly atoned for the abuses of that era.
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Tensions between South Korea and Japan are welcomed and even encouraged by North Korea, which seizes any opportunity to drive a wedge between the two key US military allies in the region.
A spokesman for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee in Pyongyang called the intelligence agreement a “hideous act of treachery aimed to stifle fellow countrymen in the north in league with the sworn enemy of the nation”.
In a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news, the spokesman said it was a “dangerous act” that would further raise already-elevated tensions on the Korean peninsula and open a door to Japanese “re-invasion.”
The amplified rhetoric will strike a chord in the South, where the main opposition party called Monday’s agreement “unpatriotic and humiliating”