All national dailies wrote that South Korea’s Ministry of Defense released a statement on Wednesday accusing Japan of “deliberately flying a patrol plane around 60 to 70 meters above South Korean naval vessels” in the East China Sea at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, insisting that this was a “clear provocation” against South Korea. The ROK government also alleged that similar low-altitude flights were made by Japanese aircraft near South Korean vessels on Jan. 18 and 22. However, Defense Minister Iwaya immediately dismissed South Korea’s allegations by saying that the MSDF patrol plane in question maintained an altitude of at least 150 meters and distance of 500 meters from the ROK vessel and was flying in accordance with relevant domestic and international laws.
The papers wrote that at the outset of a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Kono in Davos on Wednesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha reiterated Seoul’s allegation by saying it is “very regrettable” that there have been multiple low-altitude flights by Japanese aircraft. Kono reportedly dismissed South Korea’s allegation by saying that Seoul’s announcement was “regrettable.”