[Exclusive] Japan expresses disapproval over Dokdo ship‘s visit amid rising sun flag controversy

Oct 05, 2018, 09:47 am

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By AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong 

It has been revealed on Thursday that Japan expressed displeasure over the visit of the South Korean navy's amphibious assault ship, the Dokdo, carrying South Korean cadets. 

This is expected to aggravate South Koreans' sentiment toward Japan as it insists that one of its warships should fly the "Rising Sun Flag", considered by many to be a symbol of Japanese Imperialism, for the International Fleet Review to be held on Jeju Island on Oct. 10-14. 

The Ministry of National Defense has been promoting the overseas warship training of cadets of the army, navy and air forces since the beginning of the year aimed to enhance military effectiveness, under the direction of then-Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo. 

"The sophomores of the 3rd military academy will visit Japan and Russia on naval vessels for the first time from the beginning of November," a military official said.

"Three vessels will be participating for the training near the Japanese port city of Sasebo, including a 4,500-ton destroyer Dae Jo-yeong (DDH-II), a 4,900-ton landing ship Cheon Wang Bong (LST-II), and the Il Chul Bong," the official said.

"A 14,000-ton helicopter carrier, the Dokdo, will be used for the training at the Russian port of Vladivostok," the official said. 

Originally, the Navy had been reviewing to use only Dokdo assault ships for the training since it is the only naval vessel that can carry 700 sophomore cadets.

However, such a plan seems to have changed in the process of consultation with Japan. 

"It seems that Japan has expressed displeasure over the port entry of a ship named after Dokdo, the island in the East Sea controlled by Seoul but claimed by Tokyo," the official said. 

The Japanese government did not participate in a launching ceremony of the Dokdo attended by international military officers from 14 countries, including the United States, England, Germany and China.

As the Japanese government reacted extremely sensitively to the Dokdo, it is possible to assume that the Navy has changed its training vessels by themselves in order to avoid trouble with Japan.

If this is the case, it is difficult to avoid criticism that the Navy had problems with their response. 

"Japan's rejection of the Dokdo's port entry while participating in the Jeju fleet festival using the Japanese Rising Sun Flag shows their distorted historical perception, and it can be seen as a kind of provocation. The South Korean government requires a more active and aggressive response," a diplomatic and security expert said.

#Rising Sun Flag #Jeju #Dokdo #Japan #International Fleet Review 
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