S. Korean defense minister orders stern action against Japan’s flybys

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo leaves the ministry headquarters in Seoul on Jan. 23, 2019. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Jan 27, 2019, Yonhap. South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo has instructed the Navy to sternly deal with the repeated low-altitude flybys by Japanese warplanes, describing them as “a serious provocation by an ally,” his ministry said Saturday, reported the Yonhap.

He made the remarks during his unscheduled visit to the Fleet Command in the southern port city of Busan, the ministry said later in a release.

The minister was briefed on the details regarding multiple close-range flights by Japanese maritime patrol planes toward South Korean destroyers in recent weeks.

South Korean and Japan are embroiled in a military spat, initially sparked after Tokyo accused a Korean warship of locking its fire-control radar on its patrol aircraft on Dec. 20.

Seoul has refuted the claim and said the warship was on a rescue mission to save a North Korean ship.

The dispute escalated after Japanese aircraft flew near Korean ships repeatedly in three separate incidents following the December case.

The defense chief strongly denounced Japan for its multiple flybys, defining them as “very threatening behavior that no navy of any country can tolerate.”

He also condemned the ally for not admitting to its actions, saying that making false accusations against Korea instead is “preposterous words and deeds,” the ministry quoted him as saying.

The minister ordered the Navy’s stern action against Japan over the matter, as well as calling for a perfect and balanced readiness posture in case of various circumstances, the ministry added.

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