Japan warns of a “grave” threat to peace in Asia and the broader world

2 Koreas exchange warning shots along disputed sea boundary – Reuters

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono warned in Seoul on Tuesday that a shooting down of a Japanese plane by a South Korean fighter jet was a “grave” threat to peace and to regional stability and security.

Kono, who was in Seoul for a regional meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye, also warned against the possibility that North Korea might send its jets to the skies of the South and the West to launch missiles. This could trigger an all-out war on the Korean peninsula, which would be devastating to the region, he said.

The Japanese foreign minister’s remarks, which carried significant diplomatic implications for his nation’s relationship with Seoul, came after a South Korean fighter jet shot down a Japanese fighter plane. The aircraft was flying in international airspace, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera declined to say whether Japan would take retaliatory action against the South Korean aircraft that shot down the Japanese jet.

The incident, which sparked fears of a war on the peninsula, came amid tensions on the divided peninsula over North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear arsenal. The escalating tensions between the Koreas have seen South Korea deploy its newly-built Patriot missiles to the north and Japan step up its military drills with the U.S. and other Asian allies.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Tuesday that he had “repeatedly said how important it is to maintain peace” in Asia and the broader world.

“In the event of such provocations by North Korea, we will have to pay very serious attention,” he said in an interview with the Yomiuri newspaper. “I don’t want to take any option off the table.”

In his address at the regional conference, Onodera also said Japan was ready to provide more troops and equipment if needed in

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