Adding to the ongoing political turmoil in South Korea, opposition parties have warned the defence ministry against signing an information-sharing deal with Japan. The parties have threatened the defence minister, Han Min-koo, that he will be removed if his ministry signs the General Security of Military Information Agreement.
The president of the country, Park Geun-hye, is already facing demands for resignation after her confidante Choi Soon-sil was arrested for allegedly misusing her position to influence political decisions. There were massive protests in Seoul on Saturday (12 November) with tens of thousands taking to the streets to demand the president's ouster.
Woo Sang-ho, floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, said that public anger demonstrated during the recent protests was proof that people were not happy with the "unilateral" way the government has handled key state affairs.
The defence ministry decided to enter into a military intelligence-sharing deal with Japan in the wake of growing security threats from North Korea. Japan claims to have high-tech intelligence-gathering equipment.
However, many Koreans are opposed to the move, given Japan had once colonised the Korean peninsula from 1910 and 1945 and there is still anger among Koreans over Japan's wartime misdeeds, Yonhap news agency reported.
"We will take steps to dismiss or impeach the defence minister should [the agreement with Japan] be provisionally signed," Woo is quoted as saying said during a meeting with senior party members on Monday, 14 November, 2016.
Park Jie-won, the interim leader of the minor opposition People's Party, echoed a similar view. He warned that the three opposition parties, including the Justice Party, will unite in seeking the dismissal or impeachment of the defence minister if the ministry presses ahead with the deal.