SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Korea Bizwire) — Tension is rising between South Korea and Japan with the two counties exchanging YouTube videos accusing each other of the radar incident involving a Japanese military aircraft and a South Korean naval vessel.
The South Korean government posted a new YouTube video with subtitles in Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, and Arabic.
The Japanese Ministry of Defense posted a YouTube video on December 28 with subtitles in Japanese and English, and soon uploaded an additional video with Korean subtitles, translating the conversations between the military staff onboard the Japanese patrol aircraft that come within 500 meters of the South Korean ship.
The video has reached more than 70,000 views.
Experts argue that both South Korea and Japan are trying to win over public opinion by promoting each side of the story using YouTube videos.
The South Korean government made an official statement in the video that the South Korean ship did not lock its fire-control radar on a Japanese military aircraft. Rather, South Korea blamed the Japanese patrol plane for flying at a low altitude of 150 meters above the South Korean ship, which the South Korean Navy perceived as a “threat”.
Japan, on the other hand, insisted that the South Korean ship locked its fire-control radar on its patrol plane.
Videos posted by both countries fail to provide corroborating evidence. Experts argue that the videos will only deepen the confusion among viewers.
Still, defense authorities from both countries do not seem to have any intention of resolving the issue. Japan, in particular, has reportedly been avoiding requests from South Korea to engage in staff meetings, which is quite the contrast from when Japan previously sought closer military ties with South Korea while having the United States as the middleman.
Some say that this is the way that Japan demonstrates its frustration over the incident in which the country chose not to participate in the 2018 Republic of Korea International Fleet Review after rejecting South Korea’s request to lower the Rising Sun Flag, a historically controversial flag used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Others argue that Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and his cabinet members are trying to exploit the issue to garner support in domestic politics.
The issue began on December 20, when Japan accused a South Korean naval ship, conducting a rescue mission on a North Korean vessel in distress, of using a fire-control radar to lock on the Japanese patrol aircraft.
South Korea has been insisting that the naval ship did not lock on the patrol plane, while Japan, without providing any evidence, has been repeating the accusation ever since.
“It is clear on record that the patrol aircraft followed appropriate procedures to conduct border patrol in the Economic Exclusive Zone of Japan,” said Takeshi Iwaya, the Japanese Defense Minister.
“We will send out clear explanations to the international community.”
Itsunori Onodera, the former Japanese Defense Minister, asked the Japanese government “to send out strong complaints to South Korea” to prevent any impact on the morale of the Japanese Self-Defense Force.
One South Korean military official argued that Japan seemed “to deliberately raise the problem domestically.”
“Defense authorities have to take the lead in resolving all misunderstandings surrounding this incident that occurred during a humanitarian operation,” said a former South Korean general.
“The issue will become a mess once politicians get involved.”
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)