‘S Korea won`t object to Japan`s Aegis destroyers in nearby waters’

South Korea will not oppose Japan`s deployment of Aegis destroyers to waters near the Yellow Sea, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday.

Updated: Jun 04, 2012, 15:30 PM IST

Seoul: South Korea will not oppose Japan`s deployment of Aegis destroyers to waters near the Yellow Sea, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday, citing a high-ranking official at the South Korean Presidential office.

The official, cited by the Chosun Ilbo, said the South Korean government believes guaranteeing navigational freedom on the high seas near the Yellow Sea, known to Koreans as the West Sea, coincides with South Korea`s security interests.

Instability in North Korea since the death of its previous leader Kim Jong Il has led to greater awareness In South Korea of the need to bolster military cooperation with the United States and Japan.

The United States has been urging South Korea for years to bolster military ties with Japan, and South Korea expects closer military ties with Japan would help with intelligence gathering about North Korea.
"Japan has twice as many Aegis destroyers as we do," the report said. "The intelligence data they gather from the West Sea could be of great use."

Japan`s plan to deploy the destroyers with the aim of better detecting North Korea`s missile movements raised some concerns in South Korea. Some fear of a possible backlash from China, while others are not keen to see naval ships of Japan, former colonizer, being close to South Korea.
South Korea appears to have decided that the deployment could usefully counter any attempts by China to control those waters during an emergency on the Korean Peninsula and would guarantee better access for the South Korean and US navies.

"US naval vessels are the most likely foreign ships to enter the West Sea in an emergency," the official was quoted as saying.(Kyodo)

PTI