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Diplomacy

No breakthrough in South Korea-Japan military talks

Talks stem from a radar incident involving a Japanese aircraft in December.


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Updated: January 15, 2019

South Korea and Japan have failed to narrow their differences in a stand-off over whether a Korean warship had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese patrol plane last month, Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Tuesday (Jan 15), citing the country’s defence ministry.

General-ranked representatives from the two sides met in Singapore on Monday (Jan 14) but could not resolve the dispute, according to the defence ministry. It was the first face-to-face contact between officials from the two nations over the Dec 20 incident, Yonhap said.

Tokyo accuses a South Korean warship of locking fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft, and has released a video clip to back up its claim.

“The two sides were apart (throughout the Singapore meeting),” a ministry official told Yonhap, suggesting that no agreement was reached.

They plan to schedule additional talks, the report said, citing a defence source.

The two countries share a bitter history that includes Japan’s 1910-45 colonisation of the Korean peninsula, the forced mobilisation of labour at Japanese companies and the use of comfort women, Japan’s euphemism for girls and women, many of them Korean, forced to work in its wartime brothels.

The rows over wartime history have long been a hurdle for relations at a time when there is a need for concerted efforts to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

The talks on Monday began at the South Korean Embassy in Singapore in the morning, Yonhap said. A second round took place at the Japanese Embassy in the afternoon.

South Korea’s delegation was led by Vice-Admiral Boo Suk-jong of the chief director of military support at Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Lee Won-ik, director general of international policy at the defence ministry.

In the Japanese delegation were Lieutenant-General Atsushi Hikita, the director of operations at Tokyo’s Joint Staff Office, and senior defence ministry official Takeshi Ishikaw.

 



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About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

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