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Experts criticize Japan's radar claim

By Wooyoung Lee
Experts criticize Japan's radar claim
Staff watch radar screens in the CDC (Combat Direction Center) on the USS George Washington during the "Keen Sword 2010" U.S.-Japan joint military exercise in the Pacific Ocean east of Okinawa island, Japan, on December 10, 2010. UPI/Keizo Mori | License Photo

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A recent Japanese patrol aircraft's approach to a South Korean warship on a mission to rescue a North Korean fishing boat was "dangerous and thoughtless" a former Japanese high-ranking official said.

Jiro Ono, a former secretary of ex-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, wrote on Twitter that the South Korean warship looked more urgent in the rescue mission, which the Japanese defense ministry earlier called "extremely dangerous act," claiming that the South Korean destroyer directed its fire-control radar at its patrol plane, Hankyoreh reported.

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"I saw the video released by the Japanese defense ministry, which claims that the South Korean warship locked its radar onto a Japanese patrol plane. It reminded me of the 2001 incident that happened in the waters off Amami Island," he said.

"From the footage, we can tell that the South Korean warship looked more urgent. The approach by the Japanese patrol plane to the South Korean destroyer was extremely dangerous and thoughtless," he said.

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The 2001 incident refers to a sinking of a foreign vessel, which the Japanese government presumed to be from North Korea. A clash occurred between a Japanese coastal police patrol ship and a foreign vessel in an investigation by the Japanese coast guard.

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A former Air Force chief said the radar use doesn't pose any threat in his Twitter last week.

"It's not dangerous at all. Many countries use the fire-control radar during their drills," he said. "I don't think the Korean Navy used the radar only to target the Japanese patrol plane," he added.

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South Korean experts also said that the Japanese plane intentionally flew low to monitor the South Korean warship, calling it a "threat."

"The Japanese patrol plane was flying at an altitude of 492 feet in the South Korean air and that was a threat," Kim Hyun-su, maritime law professor of Inha University was quoted as saying in a Yonhap News report.

Japan claimed that a South Korean warship locked radar on a Japanese patrol plane for multiple times on Dec. 20, calling it an "extremely dangerous act." It demanded that the South Korean government take measures to prevent the recurrence of the military incident.

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South Korea said that the warship was on a mission to rescue a North Korean fishing boat in the East Sea and used the radar to search for the ship.

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