SEOUL--South Korea is ill at ease over Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's initiative on the right of collective self-defense and other issues concerning national security.
South Korea's foreign minister, Kim Sung-hwan, expressed Seoul's concerns in a meeting with Seiji Maehara, chairman of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan's Policy Research Committee, on July 16.
Kim said recent bilateral relations are "less than favorable."
He cited three reasons, including a proposal to change the interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right of collective self-defense.
On July 6, a panel of experts under the government's National Policy Unit called for a review of the interpretation on the right of collective self-defense to "expand avenues for security cooperation."
Noda has said Japan should sanction the right to exercise collective self-defense, and the panel's proposal was compiled in line with his arguments.
Maehara told Kim that the government has not made any decision on whether to change the interpretation.
Kim also expressed concerns about "national security in nuclear power" and "Japan's plans to play a more active role in space development."
He was referring to a June 20 revision to the Atomic Energy Basic Law that says nuclear safety should "contribute to Japan's national security" and probably a June 15 amendment that allows the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to develop intelligence-gathering and other satellites for national security purposes.
Maehara brushed aside concerns about the revision to the Atomic Energy Basic Law. He said the added wording refers only to ways to manage nuclear safety, such as the maintenance of the nonproliferation regime.
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