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(LEAD) S. Korea hits back with its own video clip over radar spat

Defense 15:36 January 04, 2019

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more info in paras 7-13)

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Friday released its own video clip to repudiate Japan's claims over an escalating spat involving military radar, renewing calls for Tokyo to stop distorting facts and apologize over the incident.

Seoul's defense ministry posted the video clip on YouTube, a week after Tokyo released its own footage to back up the claim that a South Korean warship had locked fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft on Dec. 20.

Choi Hyun-soo, spokeswoman for South Korea's defense ministry, speaks during a press conference at the ministry in Seoul on Jan. 4, 2019. (Yonhap)

In the clip, the ministry reiterated that its 3,200-ton Gwanggaeto the Great destroyer did not target Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-1 plane, as the vessel was focused on a humanitarian mission to rescue a North Korean boat in distress in the international waters of the East Sea.

The ministry also reiterated that the Japanese plane was flying at a low altitude, which was "threatening" to the destroyer.

"The release of our video clip is designed to provide accurate facts, after distorted facts have been disseminated to Internet users across the globe through Japan's clip unilaterally published in Japanese and English," Choi Hyun-soo, the ministry's spokeswoman, said.

"We once again say that Japan must cease actions that warp the facts and apologize for carrying out a low-altitude flight toward our warship that was on a humanitarian rescue operation," she added.

The spokeswoman added that her ministry will also release the clip in English and other languages.

The Korean-language clip focused on Seoul's rejection of Tokyo's claim that its warship used a tracking radar system, called STIR 180, to target the Japanese plane.

It also said that the patrol aircraft flew just about 150 meters above the destroyer at some point -- a flight that can be seen as posing a threat to the South Korean Navy.

"Why did the Japanese patrol aircraft fly at a threateningly low altitude at the scene of a humanitarian rescue operation?" the ministry asked in the clip.

In a subtitle, it noted that the Japanese plane approached the destroyer even when it was aware of the rescue mission.

"As an accidental clash could occur, an armed warplane should not fly toward a foreign warship at a low altitude in a threatening manner," it read.

The latest spat added to tensions in the bilateral relationship long strained by historical and territorial feuds.

The two countries have recently sparred over Seoul's top court rulings earlier this year about South Koreans forced into hard labor by Japanese firms during World War II.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
(END)

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