중앙데일리

A new 'mystery ship' flap will not scuttle meeting in Pyeongyang, Japan says

Sept 06,2002
TOKYO -- An unidentified ship resembling a North Korean spy vessel appeared near Japanese waters on Wednesday, stirring new concern before the first meeting of heads of the two countries. Japan will urge North Korea to stop spy operations in Japanese waters, the Japanese Jiji Press reported Thursday, at the Sept. 17 meeting in Pyeongyang between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

"I will address not just this incident but all the past appearances of mystery ships," Mr. Koizumi told the press. "But Wednesday's incident will not affect the talks."

A 36-meter, 100-ton ship was spotted at about 4 p.m. Wednesday in waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula, about 400 kilometers from Japan's Noto Peninsula near the nation's exclusive economic zone, the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported. It was quoting a spokesman of the Japanese Coast Guard.

The Japanese Defense Agency dispatched a destroyer and an antisubmarine aircraft immediately after the sighting; 15 patrol boats were also sent to the area.

"We have a report that the ship resembles a North Korean vessel," Yasuo Fukuda, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, said in a news conference Thursday. "But we are not able to confirm its registry."

Japanese media, however, said Korean writing was spotted on the hull of the unidentified ship. Digital photos taken by the Japanese aircraft reportedly showed insignia that suggested it was a North Korean craft, the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

"Because the ship has not entered Japan's territorial waters or its exclusive economic zone, we can't say that the nation's sovereignty was infringed upon," an unnamed Defense Agency official told the Yomiuri. At the time, the ship was heading for the Korean Peninsula at a speed of six knots on a west-southwest course in the East Sea (Sea of Japan).

"Don't chase it too far," an official at the prime minister's office reportedly said after being told the ship was probably a North Korean vessel. Tokyo and Pyeongyang officials are busy with preparations for the Sept. 17 meeting of the two nations' leaders.

by Oh Day-young




dictionary dictionary | 프린트 메일로보내기 내블로그에 저장