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Defense Ministry Lodges Protest Over Low Flight By Japanese Patrol Aircraft

Source: Yonhap

January 23 2019

South Korea

The South Korean military has criticized a Japanese aircraft's low-altitude flight near one of its destroyers, reports the Yonhap news agency (Seoul). 

On Wednesday, a Japanese P-3 maritime patrol aircraft flew by the Daejoyeong destroyer, the ministry said on Wednesday.

The Japanese plane was about 1,770 feet (540 m) away from the destroyer while flying at an altitude between 195 feet (60 m) and 230 feet (70 m) over international waters southwest of the Korean peninsula. 

The destroyer "actively" communicated warnings "dozens of times," said military officials. The Japanese aircraft did not respond and lingered in the area. 

The low-altitude, close-range flight was a provocative act, said the chief director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The incident occurred near Ieodo, a submerged rock that is claimed by both China and South Korea. 

The pass was the third in less than a week, noted the South Korean news agency. 

Japan has rejected Seoul's characterization of the flights, calling them routine patrols, according to Japanese public broadcaster NHK. 

The two nations have been locked in a dispute over an incident that occurred on Dec. 20, during which Japan claims a South Korean destroyer locked its fire-control radar on a Japanese P-1 patrol aircraft. 

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