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South Korean participates in Japan’s fleet review for 1st time in 7 years

A South Korean naval vessel took part in Japan’s international fleet review on Sunday for the first time in seven years amid escalating nuclear and missile threats from North Korea.

South Korea was one of 12 countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, to take part in the review that took place in Sagami Bay off Kanagawa Prefecture, about 40 kms southeast of Tokyo, Yonhap news agency reported.

Sailors aboard South Korea’s 10,000-ton logistics support ship Soyang saluted toward Japan’s helicopter carrier Izumo carrying Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as sailors from other participating countries do while passing the carrier.

The Japanese vessel was flying the flag of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF). The flag looks similar to the Rising Sun Flag viewed by many Koreans as a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past.

It marked the first time since 2015 for the South’s Navy to participate in Japan’s fleet review.

The Navy took part in Japan’s fleet review in 2002 and 2015, while the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force joined the South’s fleet review in 1998 and 2008.

Since 2018, when tensions between Seoul and Tokyo rose over historical and other disputes, the two sides have not participated in each other’s fleet reviews.

Following the review, the Navy ship Soyang plans to join a multinational search and rescue exercise. The exercise will bring together service members from the United States, Britain, France, Australia, Canada and other countries.

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