National / Politics

South Korea's Defense Ministry releases video of maritime incident to dispute Japan's account

Kyodo

South Korea released on Friday a video of an alleged radar lock-on incident involving a Japanese plane and a South Korean warship, repeating its demand that Japan stop “distorting” the truth about the case and apologize for a low-altitude flyby by one of its planes.

The move by Seoul marks another twist in a dispute that has pitted two U.S. allies against each other, and comes exactly one week after Japan released a video of its own to support its claim that a South Korean Navy ship had locked a fire-control radar onto a Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane over the Sea of Japan.

South Korea has steadfastly denied Japan’s claim, saying that the destroyer was on the scene on Dec. 20 to rescue a drifting North Korean fishing boat. It said the destroyer used an optical camera but did not direct its radar at the plane.

“Japan will have to stop distorting the truth and apologize for a low-altitude flight over our ships that were on a humanitarian rescue mission,” Defense Ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said in the video, which was published on video-sharing website YouTube.

“The purpose of today’s disclosure is to inform (the public of) the more correct facts, as distorted truth has reached netizens all over the world after Japan’s unilateral release of video footage,” Choi said in a briefing recorded Dec. 28 but only released in the video Friday.

The South Korean video is 4 minutes and 26 seconds long and summarizes the claims made by Seoul so far. Choi said the video will soon be translated into foreign languages.