SEOUL, June 29 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and Japan have decided to delay the signing of their first military pact since Japan's colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula, local media reported Friday.
The foreign ministry here said previously the two countries plan to sign the accord, called the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), in Tokyo later on the day.
The pact, if signed, would allow the two sides to exchange military intelligence on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and its nuclear and missile programs.
Opposition lawmakers and civic activists have criticized the accord, describing it as a hush-hush deal that would generate military tension in the region and embolden Japanese right-wing extremists.
The South Korean Cabinet's clandestine endorsement of the accord earlier this week, which was not immediately made public, also triggered public outcry.
The last-minute decision to delay the signing came after the ruling Saenuri Party asked the government to allow the parliament to review the accord, citing negative public opinion and procedural controversies.
Saenuri floor leader Lee Hahn-koo called Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and asked him to put off the signing, originally scheduled for 4 p.m. in Tokyo, according to ruling party officials.
Shin Kak-soo, Seoul's top envoy to Tokyo, and Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba were expected to sign the watershed pact.