The foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea on Wednesday exposed a deepening rift between the two countries despite agreeing on the need to maintain close communication, as Seoul made fresh accusations over allegedly provocative flights by the Self-Defense Forces.

Their meeting, held on the fringes of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, marked the first face-to-face talks between the two ministers since bilateral ties chilled over wartime labor compensation and disputes over military encounters.

For the Japanese side, the meeting was seen as a chance to explore ways to end the stalemate. But shortly before the talks, South Korea's Defense Ministry said SDF planes had deliberately flown at low altitude near South Korean naval vessels multiple times in recent days, terming the acts a "clear provocation."