By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, June 27 (Yonhap) -- The United States supports an envisioned pact between South Korea and Japan on sharing military information, a State Department official said Wednesday.
"We welcome closer ties between our allies, Japan and the Republic of Korea," the official told Yonhap News Agency.
Speaking on the customary condition of anonymity, the official would not go into details of the bilateral issue, however.
On Tuesday, South Korea completed its domestic procedures to sign the General Security of Military Information Agreement. Japan is expected to follow suit this week.
It would be the first defense accord between the two sides since Japan's colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945.
The U.S. has long sought to bolster trilateral cooperation with South Korea and Japan on regional security.
The initiative has been slowed by often-prickly relations between the Northeast Asian powers from disputes over their shared history and territory, a legacy of Japan's imperial era.
Renewed worries among Korean people over Japan's possible nuclear armament reflect such lingering mistrust.
As Japan, pushing for measures to prevent a recurrence of its nuclear reactor meltdown, revised an atomic energy law to link its nuclear use with not only public safety but also national security, many South Korean media expressed concerns in editorials.
Seoul officials also said they are keeping close tabs on Japan's move.
The State Department official said such worries are overblown.
"The Japanese government has been clear in stating that it has no intention at all to use nuclear power for military purposes," the official said. "One purpose of the revision to the atomic energy law was to ensure the necessary safeguards against proliferation, which is an issue of great importance to Japan."
- Lee champions free trade, green growth during Latin American swing
- Big morale-booster for 'Queen of Elections' in S. Korean polls
- N. Korea loses more than gains from rocket gambit
- Seoul meeting a rehearsal for tougher diplomacy on N. Korea's rocket launch
- Rival parties heating up campaign for April's general elections
- Lee faces full plate of tough issues in final year in office
- Lee wins Olympics, African foothold during 10-day summit diplomacy
- Lee's tireless behind-the-scenes campaign for PyeongChang bears big fruit
- President, opposition leader meet, with little progress
- Lee tightening discipline in officialdom amid series of corruption cases
- Row simmering over role of SNS in S. Korea