South Korea Conducts Drill at Disputed Islands
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - South Korean forces on Friday carried out a four-hour drill in waters near the islets of Dokdo, involving the navy and coast guard, aimed at repelling foreign landings on disputed islands at the heart of a row with Japan.
The four-hour drill started at 8:00 a.m. on "Day of Dokdo" under a scenario in which other countries approach and illegally land on the islets, apparently targeting Japan which often claims sovereignty over the islets, Yonhap news agency reported.
"It is a regular drill aimed at repealing non-military forces that approach Dokdo via a sea or air route," the military official said, on the customary condition of anonymity.
The drill, which included destroyers and combat jets, took place on what South Korea has designated "Dokdo Day."
The drill mobilized about five ships, including 3,200-ton destroyers, and a patrol ship as well as the Air Force's F-15K combat jets, the official said.
The Navy's Underwater Demolition Team joined the training to conduct landing operation missions using a UH-60 helicopter under a scenario that foreigners approach the islets. In previous drills, Marine Corps carried out landing operations.
South Korea has held similar military and Coast Guard exercises around Dokdo in previous years in a move seen in part as aimed at bolstering the country's sovereignty over the East Sea islets.
Seoul has rejected Japan's claims as amounting to denying Korea's independence from its 1910-45 colonial rule because Korea reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo and many other islands around the peninsula, when it regained independence from Japan.
South Korea has kept a small coastguard detachment on Dokdo since 1954.
Both Japan and South Korea say they have long-standing historical ties to, and claims over, the island grouping. The territories consist of two main islands and about 30 smaller rocks.
A defense ministry official said that it was important to show the area "would be defended by South Korea, in whatever circumstances."