June 4, 2023 at 18:05 JST
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, right, and his South Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-sup, hold talks at Asia's top security conference in Singapore on June 4.(Nobuhiko Tajima/ The Asahi Shimbun)
SINGAPORE--Japan and South Korea agreed on June 4 to quickly resolve disputes over past military encounters that stand in the way of closer security cooperation, Japan’s defense minister said at the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore.
Yasukazu Hamada held talks with his South Korean counterpart, Lee Jong-sup, as part of Asia’s top security conference.
“We discussed pending issues” and agreed “to accelerate talks, including steps to prevent a recurrence” of a 2018 radar incident, Hamada told reporters after the meeting.
“We will continue to keep close communication with South Korea,” he said.
In the 2018 incident, Seoul denied Tokyo’s assertion that a South Korean destroyer had locked its targeting radar on a Japanese surveillance plane, sparking a dispute that has hampered the Asian neighbors’ relationship.
Asked about the issue, Lee told reporters that he and Hamada “agreed to resolve it starting with working-level talks,” with a focus on devising measures to prevent a recurrence.
Lee and Hamada condemned a failed satellite launch by North Korea on May 31 as a “grave violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning all launches using ballistic missile technology, South Korea’s defense ministry said.
The ministers agreed on the need for greater security cooperation bilaterally and with their mutual ally, the United States, to curb the North’s nuclear and missile threats and promote a more stable Indo Pacific, the ministry said in a statement.
Hamada said he and Lee agreed on the importance of promoting defense cooperation among Japan, South Korea and the United States.
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