Seoul official mentions possibility of S. Korea-U.S. intel partnership expansion to include Japan

A South Korean presidential security official took note of the possibility Saturday that Seoul and Washington could expand the allies' intelligence partnership to include Japan, a topic for the bilateral summit set for later this month.

Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Kim Tae-hyo made the remark upon arrival from Washington, where he discussed preparations for the planned White House summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, on April 26.

"The possibility is great, but it can be considered in a step-by-step manner or on a case-by-case basis," Kim said at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, when asked if Japan can be included in the South Korea-U.S. "intelligence alliance."

In answer to a question about whether the level of intelligence cooperation between the South and the United States can be elevated to that of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance, Kim said the bilateral partnership may "perhaps" be deeper than the five-way architecture consisting of the U.S., Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand

"We have been further solidifying that (bilateral) intelligence alliance," he said. "And I think going forward, there will be discussions on which partner we would invite additionally to the South Korea-U.S. intelligence alliance."

He said the upcoming summit will deal with various topics, including security, economy and people-to-people exchanges, as the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of their alliance this year.

"I think based on the outcomes of the alliance over the past 70 years, the summit will become a significant historical turning point that would write a new milestone for the future of the alliance," he said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency