S. Korea kicks off naval drills rehearsing defense of islets disputed by Japan
SEOUL, South Korea – Despite protests from Tokyo, South Korea kicked off naval drills Monday aimed at practicing for a theoretical fight with Japan over a disputed cluster of islets that sit in the sea between the countries.
The two-day military exercise, which has been held twice a year since 2003, took on extra significance this year because it occurred even as Seoul was discussing plans to halt joint war games with the United States amid a diplomatic push to ease tensions with North Korea.
South Korea and Japan have long feuded over the rocky and largely uninhabited territory, which the South calls Dokdo and Japan calls Takeshima.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry lodged a protest over the planned drills on Sunday, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.
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