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Japan: South Korea Military Drills Near Contested Islands 'Deplorable'

Japan: South Korea Military Drills Near Contested Islands 'Deplorable'
A member of a nationalist group holds a picture of a set of tiny islands in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) that are controlled by South Korea, which are known as the Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan and have been at the centre of a long-standing territorial feud, during an annual rally in Tokyo on Feb. 22, 2013. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 18 June 2018 12:31 PM

Japan is protesting South Korea over its plans to conduct military drills near the contested Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan, according to Japanese national broadcaster NHK Monday.

The protest by Japan's foreign ministry came after the South Korean announcement that it will run two days of military drills on the islands, the broadcaster said. NHK wrote that South Korea controls the islands, but Japan claims them as their own.

Kenji Kanasugi, the head of Japan's foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs bureau, called the South Korean Embassy Sunday to register its complaint, telling a senior South Korean official that the planned drills are "extremely deplorable," NHK noted.

Seoul officials said the exercises will simulate an attempt by foreign forces to land on the islands and will involve the South Korean Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, NHK said.

The country said that six warships and seven aircraft will be use in the exercise, including a destroyer, a maritime surveillance plane, and F-15 fighters, the broadcaster said.

The Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua reported that South Korea defense ministry representative Choi Hyun-soo said in a news conference that the maritime drills are a regularly-held to defend the islands.

Takeshima, which Xinhua referred to as Dokdo, was described by the Chinese news agency as rocky outcroppings lying halfway between South Korea and Japan, which were forcibly incorporated into Japan during its 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula.

The dispute comes as South Korea and the United States prepared to announce this week the suspension of joint military exercises following President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the South Korean News agency Yonhap said.

The news agency said that the announcement will probably include a "snapback" clause, where the exercises will start up again if North Korea fails to follow through on denuclearization.

"The South Korean and U.S. military authorities have been having close consultations over the combined exercises that U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will stop," a source told Yonhap. "This week, the South Korean and U.S. defense ministries will jointly announce the results of their discussions."

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Japan has voiced opposition to South Korea's planned military drills near contested islands in the Sea of Japan.
japan, south korea, military, drills
Monday, 18 June 2018 12:31 PM
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