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South Korea holds island live-fire drill, ignores Japan protest

Published on Jun 20, 2014 12:03 PM

SEOUL (AFP) - The South Korean navy held a rare live-fire drill near a set of disputed islands on Friday, brushing off angry protests from co-claimant Japan, which called the exercises "deplorable".

The defence ministry said the drill around the Seoul-controlled islets, called Dokdo by the South and Takeshima by Japan, were part of the military's "regular" national defence training.

The navy and coastguard have staged joint exercises near Dokdo many times, but a live-fire drill is rare and it prompted an angry response from Japan.

"Japan can never accept the drill given its position on Takeshima, and so we strongly demanded that the South Korean government stop its plans," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo. Mr Suga, the government's top spokesman, said the decision to push ahead with the exercises was "extremely deplorable".

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