SEOUL—South Korea’s presidential office admitted on July 6 that it had made a series of errors in trying to push through a historic military agreement with Japan.
A government investigation into the decision-making process leading up to the aborted signing of the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) on June 29 concluded that officials had not been transparent and had failed to get the backing of the South Korean people, a presidential office official said.
The signing of the intelligence sharing pact had to be postponed about an hour before the planned ceremony after an uproar in South Korea over the secretive way in which it had been pushed through.
Kim Tae-hyo, senior presidential secretary for national security, a key figure in the South Korean foreign policy, has since been forced to resign over the issue, and Cho Sei-Young, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Northeast Asian affairs bureau, has been replaced.
The South Korean government decided to sign the GSOMIA on June 26, just three days before the planned signing, but kept the decision from the public.
The military pact, the first between South Korea and Japan, was described by Japan’s foreign minister, Koichiro Genba, as “historic” shortly before the signing was postponed. It stipulates rules for the protection of shared confidential military information.
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