SEOUL – South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo has denounced recent alleged flybys of Japanese patrol planes near South Korean naval vessels as a “serious provocation,” according to Yonhap news agency.
Jeong made the remarks Saturday during an unscheduled visit to the Republic of Korea Fleet headquarters in Busan, where he also ordered stern naval action against Japan over the matter, the report said.
South Korea alleges Japanese patrol planes deliberately flew at low altitudes near ROK naval vessels three times this month.
The accusations follow a spat between the two sides over whether a South Korean destroyer locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese patrol plane in the Sea of Japan last month.
The defense chief called the flybys “very threatening behavior that no navy of any country can tolerate,” according to Yonhap.
He also condemned Japan for not admitting to its actions, saying that making false accusations against South Korea instead is “preposterous words and deeds,” he was quoted as saying.
Japanese Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya last week denied South Korea’s claim that Japanese patrol planes have flown near ROK Navy ships multiple times, calling the information “not accurate.”