The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) paid a goodwill visit to Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force at its Atsugi base on July 4. The exchange between the two countries’ naval units was realized for the first time in four years. The Korean force will stay in Japan till July 7 and is scheduled to conduct a joint flight drill using patrol aircraft over the Sagami Bay.
The ROKN and MSDF have been deepening their cooperation through anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia and regular search and rescue exercises. An exchange between the two forces began in 2011 with a visit to South Korea by MSDF P3C aircraft. South Korea reciprocated and sent air squad personnel to Atsugi in 2010 and 2012.
The defense ministers of the two countries confirmed the strengthening of bilateral ties when they met in June. At the venue, South Korea decided to send its patrol aircraft to Japan for the first time. (Abridged)