South Korea's defense ministry expressed "deep regrets" Monday over Japan's disclosure of new evidence related to a military radar dispute and its decision to halt bilateral consultations.
Tokyo's defense ministry announced its final view on the monthlong spat, saying that bilateral working-level dialogue may not lead to "verification of the truth."
Further escalating tensions, it presented two audio files as fresh evidence to back up its claim that a South Korean warship locked fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft in the overlapping exclusive economic zones of the two countries on Dec. 20.
|Screenshot of Japan's Defense Ministry homepage (Yonhap)|
"We express deep regrets over its decision to stop consultations designed to verify the facts," Choi Hyun-soo, the spokeswoman for Seoul's defense ministry, said during a press conference.
"The sounds that the Japanese side presented are just mechanical sounds from which we can never verify the pieces of information we have demanded -- the detection date, angle and traits of electromagnetic waves," she added.
The spokeswoman went on to call on Japan to present "accurate" evidence and respond to "scientific and objective" verification of it in the presence of experts from both countries.
She also reiterated that the "gist of the dispute" lies in the fact that the Japanese plane conducted a threatening low-altitude flight towards the South Korean warship that was on a humanitarian mission to rescue a North Korean vessel in distress.
"We again call for Japan's prevention of a recurrence and apology," she said.
She added that Seoul will continue efforts to strengthen defense cooperation bilaterally with Washington and with Tokyo.
The dispute has dragged on as Tokyo has persisted in its argument that the South Korean warship used weapons tracking radar despite Seoul's claim that the ship only used search radar to locate the North Korean ship.
The latest row added to tensions in the bilateral relationship long strained by historical and territorial feuds.
The two countries have recently sparred over Seoul's top court rulings earlier this year about South Koreans forced into hard labor by Japanese firms during World War II. (Yonhap)