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Japan protests S. Korean destroyer targeting Japanese patrol plane

Japan protests S. Korean destroyer targeting Japanese patrol plane

Posted December. 24, 2018 08:10,   

Updated December. 24, 2018 08:10


Japan has strongly protested for three consecutive days against South Korea’s destroyer having targeted a Japanese plane on Thursday. South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense had explained that Tokyo misunderstood its naval operation to rescue a ship near a sea border. However, Japan insisted on Sunday that Seoul directed its fire-control radar several times, and demanded that South Korea officially apologize and prevent a recurrence.

“The Maritime Self-Defense Force’s P-1 patrol plane was locked-on to by a South Korea Navy Gwanggaeto-daewang class destroyer around 3 p.m. on Thursday off the Noto Peninsula in the Sea of Japan,” the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. “’We’re detecting a fire-control radar lock-on. What’s your intention?’ an official aboard the surveillance plane asked over the radio. However, the crew received no response from the destroyer.”

The newspaper added, citing sources, that the fire-control radar lock-on detected activated alarms on the plane, and prompted the P-1 aircraft to immediately leave the vicinity, but the lock-on continued intermittently. “A fire-control radar lock-on is considered an act almost equal to the use of weapons, a situation abnormal enough to ‘prompt U.S. forces to launch an attack in case of emergency,’” said an official of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force."

A South Korean destroyer that locked a fire-control radar did so for several minutes,” the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said, citing the Japanese force official. “The incident may not have been an accident as Seoul had claimed.” Japan’s Ministry of Defense issued a statement on Saturday, refuting South Korea’s claims by saying, “Fire-control radars are not suited for wide-range searches.”

Tokyo has also expressed skepticism about Seoul’s explanation that it mobilized all radars including a fire-control radar to detect a North Korean ship.

The Asahi Shimbun reported that South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Defense explained the incident to the Embassy of Japan in Seoul on Friday and demanded that Japan not make public its protests, implying an attempt to stop the incident from growing into a bigger issue.

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com