S.Korean, Japanese Defense Chiefs Meet for 1st Time in 4 Years

      June 01, 2015 12:38

      Defense Minister Han Min-koo and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani met on the sidelines of the 14th Asia Security Summit, or Shangri-La Dialogue, in Singapore on Saturday.

      They agreed in principle that Tokyo needs Seoul's consent prior to practicing so-called collective self-defense right -- or military intervention abroad in aid of an ally -- when it comes to the Korean Peninsula.

      It was the first meeting of the two countries' defense ministers in four years and four months.

      But Nakatani was noncommittal about seeking Seoul's prior consent when attacking North Korean missile bases in an emergency. Since Seoul theoretically regards North Korea as South Korean territory, that is likely to cause a hitch in future talks.

      Nakatani also pushed for agreements on logistics support and intelligence sharing, which Seoul is wary of concluding with the current far-right Japanese government.

      U.S., Japanese and South Korean defense chiefs Ashton Carter, Gen Nakatani and Han Min-koo (from left) pose together at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday. /Courtesy of the Defense Ministry

      Earlier, Han met his U.S. counterpart Ashton Carter and urged him to prevent any recurrence of the shipment of a live anthrax sample to a U.S. Forces Korea airbase.

      Carter formally apologized and promised to take those involved to task, a ministry spokesman here said.

      On Sunday, Han also met with Sun Jianguo, the deputy chief of staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. Sun expressed concerns about the potential deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense batteries at USFK bases, saying "it might jeopardize stability on the Korean Peninsula," the spokesman said.

      Sun's remarks come in the wake of a similar statement by Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan during a visit to Seoul in February.

      The U.S. is pushing for the deployment of THAAD batteries here, and although the two allies claim they have had no official talks on the matter, both have said the batteries would only target North Korea.

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