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Tensions rise as Japan ends talks with South Korea

Tokyo blames Seoul of radar lock on its maritime patrol aircraft in Sea of Japan

21.01.2019
Tensions rise as Japan ends talks with South Korea

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA

Bilateral military negotiations between Japan and South Korea ended on Monday with Tokyo ending dialogue, media reports said.

The unilateral move, however, disappointed Seoul as South Korean Defense Ministry expressed “deep regrets” over the decision by Japanese army, Yonhap news agency reported.

Japan today released what it called “new evidence” related to a dispute which erupted when Tokyo alleged that a South Korean warship “locked fire-control radar" on its maritime patrol aircraft in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of the two countries on last Dec. 20 in the Sea of Japan.

“Tokyo's Defense Ministry announced its final view on the month-long spat, saying that bilateral working-level dialogue may not lead to verification of the truth,” Kyodo news reported.

Japan presented two “audio files as fresh evidence” to back up its claim.

Choi Hyun-soo, spokesperson for Seoul's Defense Ministry, said at a news conference: “We express deep regrets over its decision to stop consultations designed to verify the facts.”

“The sounds that the Japanese side presented are just mechanical sounds from which we can never verify the pieces of information we have demanded -- the detection date, angle and traits of electromagnetic waves,” she added.

Seoul also contended that the warship was merely using radar to search for a drifting North Korean fishing boat, demanding an apology from Japan.

Both sides, however, called on each other to present “accurate” evidence to substantiate their claims.

Seoul accused Japan of flying its plane at a “threatening low-altitude flight” towards the South Korean warship that “was on a humanitarian mission” to rescue a North Korean vessel in distress.

The latest row added to tensions in the bilateral relationship long strained by historical and territorial feuds.

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