South Korean military conducts defence drill near disputed islets

The disputed islets, called Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo, lie roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan.
The disputed islets, called Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo, lie roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL - South Korea's military kicked off a two-day maritime defence drill near a tiny group of islets at the heart of a territorial dispute on Thursday (Dec 28), Xinhua news agency reported, citing local media.

The South Korean Navy was quoted by local media as saying that the Dokdo defence exercise will be conducted for two days from Thursday to carry out the regular drill aimed at defending against an invasion of external forces, according to Xinhua.

The drill involves the mobilisation of five battleships, including a 3,200-ton destroyer, as well as maritime patrol aircraft, fighter jets and helicopters.

It marks the second defence drill aimed at protecting the islets, called Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo, since the Moon Jae In government was inaugurated in May. The last exercise was staged in June.

Japan has strongly protested against the exercise as it laid territorial claims to the rocky outcroppings, lying roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan.

South Korea regained the islets after liberating from the Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

The islets were incorporated into Japan during the colonisation.