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No decision made yet on Seoul's participation in Japan's fleet

South Korea has not made a decision on whether to attend Japan's fleet review slated for next month as it has not received an invitation, the defense ministry here said Tuesday. 

According to a Yomiuri Shimbun report, Japan's self-defense force decided not to invite South Korea to its Oct. 14 fleet review to be held in Sagami Bay near Tokyo. Japan holds such a review every three to four years. 

The last one was held in 2015, and the South Korean Navy sent the Daejoyeong destroyer to the event. 


Escorted by patrol aircraft and anti-submarine helicopters, South Korean combat vessels rehearse maneuvers ahead of Jeju International Fleet Review in October last year. (Republic of Korea Navy)
Escorted by patrol aircraft and anti-submarine helicopters, South Korean combat vessels rehearse maneuvers ahead of Jeju International Fleet Review in October last year. (Republic of Korea Navy)


"When Japan, the organizer, sends an invitation, our military is supposed to let it know our decision. So far, we've not received any invitation so that nothing has been fixed," the defense ministry said in a brief release. 

Later in the day, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga hinted that it may not send an invitation to South Korea, citing the "very difficult" situation in bilateral ties, according to Japan's Kyodo News. 

South Korea's envisioned absence serves as another sign of the deteriorated relations between the neighbors following Japan's implementation of export restrictions on South Korea, citing security concerns, in apparent retaliation against Seoul's top court ruling last year on wartime forced labor.  

In response, South Korea last month announced its decision to terminate its military information-sharing pact with Japan. 

Defenses ties between Seoul and Tokyo, in particular, have taken a turn for the worse since last December, when Japan claimed that a South Korean destroyer locked targeting radar on its surveillance plane. 

But South Korea dismissed the claim, saying the plane needlessly approached the ship, which was on a normal rescue mission. 

Amid lingering tensions, Japan skipped the multinational maritime drills held in South Korea in April this year. (Yonhap)

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