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Seoul in talks with Washington to expand information sharing

Seoul in talks with Washington to expand information sharing

Posted November. 20, 2017 07:26,   

Updated November. 20, 2017 08:14

한국어

It is reported on Sunday that Seoul is in talks with the U.S. State Department to expand and strengthen information sharing on North Korea. The South Korean government intends to exchange human intelligence (HUMINT) of its competitive edge with the U.S. imagery intelligence (IMNT) and communication intelligence (COMINT).

The United States has provided South Korea with a limited scope of images and communication intelligence collected through its reconnaissance assets such as surveillance satellites of the U.S. forces in Korea and the U2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, according to a diplomatic source.

In particular, Washington has reportedly been cautious about exchanging information with Seoul since President Moon Jae-in took office. “Although the Moon administration reiterated the importance of the US-ROK alliance, the Trump administration has some doubts about the real intention,” a Korean government official said. Besides, President Moon’s setting up of a task force responsible for investigating the National Intelligence Service threw a wet blanket indeed. How could the United States possibly give and receive information whose security matters the most, when its main negotiating partner of information sharing was in a mess with outsiders looking into the information?

 

The atmosphere of Washington is said to have changed around August when North Korea’s provocations reached the climax. With the U.N. sanctions against the North getting tougher, the United States also seemed to be thirsty for information. It reportedly requested high-level human information in return for giving highly confidential information to the South Korean government.

South Korea and the United States are also in talks to raise the level of surveillance on areas bordering China and North Korea, or the North’s major ports and railroads. In doing so, the two countries will share existing information on major “targets” and satellite images and track data captured in real time by the United States.



Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com