Japan's Abe says South Korea made strategic choice in keeping intelligence-sharing pact

FILE PHOTO: Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the ASEAN-Japan Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, November 4, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun/

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday said South Korea made a strategic choice in deciding to stick with an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan that it had earlier said it would withdraw from amid a spat over history and trade.

“I stressed the importance of cooperation between Japan and South Korea, and Japan, South Korea and the United States,” Abe said after Seoul informed Tokyo of its decision.

South Korea reversed course after coming under pressure from Washington, which worried that an end to intelligence sharing between its two allies would hamper their ability to respond to threats posed by North Korea.

Reporting by Tim Kelly and Billy Mallard; editing by Jason Neely