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C4iSR: Maritime

Tokyo accuses South Korean destroyer of directing fire-control radar at Japanese MPA

31 December 2018
A screen grab of video footage captured from a Japanese P-1 MPA on 20 December showing KCG OPV (front) and RoKN destroyer (back) near a fishing vessel and two rubber boats off the Noto Peninsula in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). Tokyo has accused the RoKN destroyer of directing its fire-control radar at the P-1 several times. Source: Japanese MoD

Tokyo has accused a Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) destroyer of directing its fire-control radar at a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) on 20 December while on a patrol mission over the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo released on 28 December a 13 minute-long video of the incident showing the P-1 flying on several occasions near KDX-I-class destroyer RoKN Gwang Gae To Daewang (pennant number 971) and Korea Coast Guard (KCG) offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Sambongho (5001), both of which were located at the time off the coast of Noto Peninsula in the proximity of what the MoD described as a fishing vessel and two rubber boats.

The ministry said in a statement that during the incident, which took place within Japan's exclusive economic zone at around 15.00 h local time, the P-1 was "hit multiple times continuously over a certain period by the [destroyer's Signaal STIR 180] fire-control radar".

In addition, the MoD said the footage shows that the P-1 called out "Korea South Naval Ship Hull Number 971" three times in English "using three frequencies in international VHF (156.8MHz) and emergency frequencies (121.5MHz and 243MHz) in an attempt to confirm the intent of the radar irradiation".

No response to those calls could be heard in the footage published by the MoD.

Tokyo went on to say that it is "extremely regrettable that this incident occurred" and that it would "firmly request from the RoK side to prevent the recurrence of such incidents", which "should not be allowed to harm co-operation between the defence authorities of Japan and [the] RoK".

South Korea's Ministry of National Defence (MND) reacted in a 28 December statement by denying the accusations and expressing "deep concerns and regrets" over Japan's release of the footage "just a day after the two sides [had] held a working-level video conference to explore ways to dispel mutual misunderstandings and develop co-operative ties in the defence area".

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