SEOUL, June 8 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea plans to conduct military exercises in waters near its easternmost islets of Dokdo later this week, a military official said Tuesday, in the latest warning against Japan over its repeated territorial claims to the islets.
The drills are set to begin later this week and involve navy destroyers, other vessels, P-3C patrol planes, helicopters, the Navy and the Coast Guard as well as a small group of Marine Corps, the official said, without giving a specific time frame.
South Korea has held the drills twice a year since 1986.
The first exercise this year comes amid lingering diplomatic tensions between the two neighbors as Japan reiterated its sovereignty to Dokdo in history textbooks and defense white paper.
Dokdo — which lies closer to South Korea in the East Sea that divides the Korean Peninsula and Japan — has long been a thorn in relations between the two countries.
South Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them. Still, Japan repeatedly claims sovereignty to the rocky outcroppings.