Sankei Shimbun reported that a ROK tanker was suspected of engaging in ship-to-ship transfer of goods with a North Korean ship in violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. It is widely believed in the government that this was based on an “unauthorized information leak by Self-Defense Forces (SDF) officers,” according to a Kantei source.
According to the Sankei report, Maritime Self-Defense Force ships spotted the ROK tanker approaching the North Korean tanker in international waters in the East China Sea. This incident occurred right after the meeting between ROK President Moon Jae-in and Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un. According to the Kantei source, “the government had decided not to make this public in order not to pour cold water on the atmosphere of North-South rapprochement.”
A Defense Ministry source points out that “it is highly possible that SDF officers leaked this information to the media to demonstrate how hard they are working.”
A government source voices concern: “Such information leak in violation of the government’s policy cannot be overlooked. Resisting whatever they are not happy about is a very serious problem that derives from the same mentality of the Air SDF major who lashed out at an opposition Diet member.” Civilian control is at risk.