Photo/IllutrationThe South Korean Defense Ministry on Jan. 4 released a video regarding the Dec. 20 incident over the Sea of Japan between a South Korean destroyer and a Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol aircraft. (Captured from YouTube)

SEOUL--The South Korean military acknowledged that its destroyer did not communicate with a Japanese patrol plane that was “flying low” in a “threatening” manner in an incident that continues to strain relations.

Japan has said that the destroyer had locked its fire-control radar on the MSDF P-1 patrol aircraft on Dec. 20 off the Noto Peninsula over the Sea of Japan. But Seoul has vehemently denied this occurred and is demanding an apology from Tokyo over the patrol aircraft’s flying low over the destroyer.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Jan. 4 released a video to counter Japan argument that its own footage released on Dec. 28 shows that the fire-control radar was locked on the P-1 aircraft.

But the only recorded wire communication voice in the South Korean footage was apparently a crew member of a South Korean coast guard patrol vessel who was calling to a colleague. A ministry official gives an explanatory message at the start of the video.

“It is regrettable that it didn’t try (to warn the patrol aircraft),” retired Rear Adm. Kim Jin-hyung, said.

However, Kim still blamed Japan for allowing the issue to escalate.

“Japan’s one-sided announcements go against the spirit of mutual collaboration,” he said. “It is not ideal that the issue, which can be solved practically by military authorities, is being used for political purposes.”

The Japanese footage showed the MSDF crew repeatedly asking the destroyer, in English, about its intentions concerning the fire-control radar but receiving no response.

South Korea explained that the destroyer was “unable to hear anything except ‘Korea coast’ because of the weak signal and strong noise.”

It is also not known if the destroyer communicated with the South Korean coast guard vessel concerning the MSDF patrol aircraft's call, according to the sources.