THAAD information may be shared with Japan, Seoul says

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (UPI) — North Korea provocations are making Seoul reconsider intelligence sharing strategies with Tokyo.

Seoul’s defense ministry spokesman Moon Sang-kyun told reporters Thursday the radar information from the U.S. anti-missile defense system THAAD could be shared with Japan, local news service Newsis reported.

That response was a departure from a previous statement issued July 19, when Defense Minister Han Min-koo told parliamentarians the information from the THAAD radar would not be shared with Japan.

Moon said Thursday intelligence collected through the THAAD system could be shared with Japan based on a trilateral military information-sharing agreement among South Korea, Japan and the United States.

Kim Dong-yeop, a research professor at the Kyungnam University Institute for Far Eastern Studies said given recent provocations, including the firing of a North Korea ballistic missile into Japanese territorial waters, information sharing is inevitable between Japan and South Korea-based intelligence.

Kim also said the deployment of THAAD and its role in a trilateral missile defense system would only strengthen China’s opposition to the program.

The defense ministry statement comes days after Commander of U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Vincent Brooks recommended more effective information sharing among members of the trilateral alliance.

The sharing of information would deter North Korea’s military capabilities, Brooks said during a defense forum in Seoul.

South Korea and the United States also reportedly had different assessments of the most recent North Korea provocations.

Seoul’s joint chiefs of staff had initially stated North Korea had launched just one ballistic missile, but the U.S. Strategic Command had said they detected two projectiles, with one exploding in mid-air.

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