Military Intelligence Sharing agreement between South Korea and Thailand penned
South Korea court Southeast Asian partners as Japan rift deepens
An MoU on Military Intelligence Collaboration was signed on Monday by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha of Thailand. The South Korean leader recently took a continuing trade spat with Japan into the security sector.
“We can broaden our national security partnership to be bolstered together,” Moon said after meeting with Prayuth in the Bangkok Government House.
“The arrangement to start sharing confidential information reflects confidence between the two sides,” said Prayuth.
Moon’s visit is South Korean President’s first official visit to Thailand in seven years. On Sunday the President arrived in Bangkok when he started a week-long Southeast Asian tour.
The memorandum is relevant to South Korea, which recently reduced its intelligence network by deciding to repress Japan by ending a military intelligence-sharing agreement with its neighbour. In the past, Japan had dropped South Korea from a list of trusted trade partners.
The escalation in Seoul’s failure with Tokyo further irritated Premier Shinzo Abe and frustrated the United States, a security ally of the two countries.
Five further memoranda of understanding were signed between Moon and Prayuth, including in smart cities development and so-called’ Industry 4.0.’ Other areas of agreement were language education, management of water resources, development of railway infrastructures, and co-operating in military intelligence.
South Korea has been pursuing an effort to diversify diplomatic and economic relations with the South-East Asian countries by relying less on major developed countries such as China, the United States and Japan.
Moon will leave for Myanmar in Thailand and on Wednesday meet State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. He will make his first official visit to Laos on Thursday as President of South Korea. “During my tenure, I’ll visit all 10 ASEAN member countries,” he said.
Moon is hosting an ASEAN summit in the south-east town of Busan in November. The president recently expressed his hope that Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea, would be present.