South Korea's defense ministry denied suspicions that Japan could be militarily involved if an armed conflict broke out on the Korean Peninsula.
The ministry's deputy spokesperson said Thursday if Japan or any other country hopes to participate as a "sending state" of the United Nations Command, they would have to seek the South Korean defense ministry's approval.
The ministry said there have been no discussions or considerations with the U.S. on whether Japan could be an official member.
In accordance to UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted in 1950, the UNC can ask for contributions from its 16 sending states, excluding South Korea and the U.S.
Also, the ministry said it told Germany it strongly objected sending a German officer to the UNC, and with that, plans to send an officer had been shelved.
The ministry stressed, any country that hopes to dispatch officers to the UNC needs Seoul's approval citing the UNC's role of defending South Korea in adherence to the armistice agreement.
"Regarding this case, there have been no prior consultations with or consent from our government, and as a country directly involved, we've strongly objected to the plan."
The remarks follow speculation that the U.S.-led UNC is reportedly seeking to include Japan in the states that would be involved militarily if an armed conflict broke out on the Korean Peninsula,… raising suspicions it could help expand Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.
South Korean media cited multiple government sources as saying the U.S. has been looking to expand the UNC's role in the region, using troops and equipment from UNC's rear base in Japan.
Also for the first time, U.S. Forces Korea, in an annual publication called "Strategic Digest" have referred to Japan's military involvement, saying that UN Command (quote) "continues to ensure the support and force flow through Japan that would be necessary in times of crisis."
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.