South Korea's decision to terminate a military intelligence-sharing pact with neighboring Japan made the front pages of local newspapers Friday, with opinions split along ideological lines.
The conservative Chosun Ilbo daily expressed concern over Thursday's announcement, saying cracks have appeared in the security cooperation between South Korea, the United States and Japan.
Meanwhile, the liberal Hankyoreh praised the progressive government for "showing a firm willingness to not back down in the face of Japan's trade retaliation measures," referring to Tokyo's tightening of export controls on some materials crucial to South Korea's technology industry.
Hankyoreh, quoting sources in the presidential office, said that the administration was around Tuesday leaning toward ending the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA.
In a speech delivered on the country's Liberation Day on Aug 15 marking the end of Japanese colonial rule, South Korean President Moon Jae In indicated his willingness to "gladly join hands" if Japan chose the path of dialogue.
A subsequent lack of movement by the Japanese government, even though his office provided portions of the speech to Tokyo in advance in a show of goodwill, served as a "decisive factor," according to the paper.
Meanwhile, the conservative Dong-a Ilbo reported that at the National Security Council meeting Thursday at which the decision was reached to exit the pact, a senior Defense Ministry official pushed to maintain the deal but was overruled.
The paper stressed that without the information provided by Japan under the agreement, the accuracy of detection and analysis of a new missile developed by North Korea could be compromised. It added that concerns about this are growing even within the South Korean military.
The termination of the GSOMIA is the latest product of deepening enmity between South Korea and Japan over wartime history and trade issues.© KYODO