Suh Wook, chief operations director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Jan. 23 delivers the official stance of the Ministry of National Defense at the ministry’s briefing room in Seoul. (Ministry of National Defense)

Suh Wook, chief operations director at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Jan. 23 delivers the official stance of the Ministry of National Defense at the ministry’s briefing room in Seoul. (Ministry of National Defense)

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.

brightsong@korea.kr