Seoul’s Defense Ministry is preparing to release a video clip to counter Tokyo’s accusation that a Korean Naval destroyer had locked its weapons-targeting radar onto a Japanese warplane last month, amid an escalating dispute over the incident.
The move comes after Japan released footage filmed by its patrol aircraft in an effort to back its claim. The Ministry of National Defense has expressed regret over Japan’s disclosure of the footage, calling it “misleading.”
Ministry of National Defense spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo (Yonhap)
On Dec. 20, the Korean Navy’s Gwanggaeto the Great destroyer conducted a rescue operation for a North Korean fishing boat drifting on international waters in the East Sea.
Tokyo claimed that during the operation, the fire-control radar on the Korean destroyer had locked onto its maritime patrol plane that was flying over the scene for surveillance purposes. Calling it a military threat, Japan demanded that the Korean government apologize and promise to prevent similar occurrences.
However, Seoul has denied the allegations, saying the fire-control radar (STIR-180) installed in the destroyer was not in operation at the time. The ministry explained that the Navy ship had only operated the optical camera attached on the radar during the humanitarian operation, and requested Japan to reveal the frequency of the radar in question for clarification.
As the row continued, the Japanese Defense Ministry posted 13 minutes of footage taken by its plane on its website on Dec. 28, with explanations in Japanese to back its claims. It also uploaded the same video clip with English subtitles on YouTube.
Korea’s Defense Ministry said the revelation “distorted facts” and called for Japan to apologize for having its aircraft fly low-altitude -- only about 150 meters above the destroyer and around 500 meters away from its side -- posing a threat to its vessel.
On Thursday, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said it would soon post a video clip on its YouTube channel to refute Japan’s claims.
“We are in the final process (of making the video clip),” said the ministry’s spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo, adding it has not yet decided when to post the clip.
By Jo He-rim (firstname.lastname@example.org)