Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 6 News List

South Korea denies target radar lock on Japanese plane

Reuters, SEOUL

South Korea yesterday denied that one of its warships had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese patrol plane, which drew a strong protest from Tokyo amid increasingly frosty relations between the regional neighbors.

Last week’s alleged radar incident joined a list of issues discussed by diplomats from the two nations at a meeting yesterday in Seoul.

Relations between the two US allies have soured since South Korea’s top court ruled in October that a Japanese steel firm must compensate four South Koreans for their forced labor during World War II.

Japan denounced the ruling.

On Friday last week, Japanese Minister of Defense Takeshi Iwaya said a South Korean destroyer had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese patrol plane, calling the action “extremely dangerous.”

The South Korean Ministry of Defense, which last week said the destroyer was performing routine operations, yesterday provided more details of the vessel’s actions.

While rescuing a distressed North Korean fishing boat, the destroyer had used an optical camera that detected a low-flying Japanese patrol plane, an official from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters.

“During the process, there was no emission of radio waves at all,” the official said, denying that the warship had locked its tracking radar on the Japanese aircraft.

South Korean diplomats explained the situation “in detail” to their Japanese counterparts and “the two sides agreed to continue to communicate as needed about this issue,” news agency News1 reported, citing an unnamed South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs official.

The diplomats also discussed the North Korean nuclear issue, and how Seoul and Tokyo could help restart talks between the US and North Korea, the ministry said in a statement.

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