All papers reported on press remarks made on Tuesday by a South Korean Defense Ministry spokeswoman regarding the Japan-ROK working level talks on the alleged radar incident that were held in Singapore on Monday. With regard to the proposal made by Japan for both sides to present relevant data to substantiate their claims, the Korean official reportedly said: “It would be difficult to accommodate such a request. It is an extremely rude demand. It shows that Japan has no intent to resolve the situation.” Asahi conjectured that the ministry was adamant in dismissing Japan’s call for an examination of the facts perhaps in response to instructions from the Blue House on Jan. 3 to “respond strongly” to Japan over the issue.
In a related development, all papers reported on a defense white paper published yesterday by the ROK Defense Ministry, pointing out that the phrase “Japan and South Korea share such basic values as liberty, democracy, and market economy” does not appear in the document even though it was included in the two previous editions. The omission apparently reflects the cooled defense ties between the two nations over the alleged radar incident. The Korean document also apparently downgrades Japan in describing defense exchanges with neighbors, with Asahi saying although Japan was at the top of a list of exchange partners in the previous edition, it is next after China this time. The dailies also focused on the omission of the phrase: “The DPRK regime and its army are our enemy.”