By Song Baleun and Kim Young Shin
The Ministry of National Defense on Jan. 23 officially warned Japan against its patrol planes flying at low altitude in a threatening manner over Korean naval vessels, pledging to take action if such violations are repeated.
Suh Wook, chief operations director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news briefing that a Japanese patrol plane at 2:03 p.m. the same day flew over the Korean destroyer Dae Jo Yeong at an altitude of 60-70 meters and got as close as 540 meters in waters near Ieodo, a submerged rock south of Jeju Island.
“It was the third time a Japanese patrol plane flew close over a Korean naval ship this year,” Suh said. “If this activity is repeated, the Korean military will consider it a Japanese provocation against its allies and sternly respond according to our rules of conduct.”
Lee Kyung-koo, the ministry’s deputy director-general for international policy, summoned Seoul-based attachés Toru Nakashima from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and Tatsuya Watanabe from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force hours after the incident to file a complaint against such flights by Japanese aircraft.
The ministry said Lee expressed concern to the attachés over the delayed response from the Japanese plane after the Korean vessel issued a warning signal, and demanded measures to prevent a recurrence.