CHINA’S defense ministry has expressed serious concern about South Korea and Japan signing a military intelligence pact to share sensitive information on what they claim is the threat posed by North Korea’s missile and nuclear activities.
The signing of the General Security of Military Information Agreement had originally been expected in 2012, but South Korea postponed it due to domestic opposition.
Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said yesterday that the move would add a new unsafe and unstable element to northeast Asia and smacked of a Cold War mentality.
“China’s military expresses serious concern about this,” Yang told a monthly news briefing, adding to previous opposition to the deal from the Chinese foreign ministry.
“We will make all necessary preparations, earnestly perform our duties and fulfil our mission, resolutely protect the country’s security interests and resolutely protect regional peace and stability,” he added, without elaborating.
Earlier last month, the foreign ministry said the agreement would add to tension on the Korean Peninsula.
China has also been upset with South Korea for agreeing to host an advanced US anti-missile system, saying it threatens China’s strategic security.
South Korea went ahead with the Japan deal despite opposition from some political parties and a large section of the public, who remain bitter over actions during Japan’s colonial rule of Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II.
Meanwhile, Yang dismissed reports Chinese military vehicles were patrolling inside Afghanistan, after an Indian media outlet said Chinese security forces were making regular patrols there.
India’s WION news outlet published pictures on its website showing what it said were likely Chinese security forces patrolling in Afghanistan’s far northeastern Little Pamir region, where the country shares a border with China.
Yang dismissed the report.
“Reports in foreign media of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan do not accord with the facts,” he told reporters.
Yang said China and Afghanistan did work together in some places to fight terrorist activity and cross-border crime.
“In recent years, law enforcement bodies from China and Afghanistan, in accordance with a bilateral cooperation decision on strengthening border law enforcement, arranged to have joint law enforcement operations in border regions,” Yang added.
The Indian report was also denied in Kabul by an Afghan official, who asked not to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
China has long been concerned that instability in Afghanistan will spill over into its Xinjiang region, where hundreds of people have died in recent years in terrorist attacks launched by militants.
China is also working with Pakistan and the United States to broker peace talks to end Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency that has raged there for 15 years.