S.Korean military to conduct defence drill

South Korea’s military will conduct a defence drill in and around its easternmost islets of Dokdo this week, government and military sources said on Monday.

The maritime exercise, called the East Sea Territory Protection Exercise, will be staged Tuesday in and around the Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan, reports Xinhua news agency.

The exercise, which has been held usually twice a year since 1986, would reportedly mobilise naval and coast guard vessels, fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft.

No landing drill will be carried out given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Tokyo has protested against the exercise as it laid territorial claims to the islets lying halfway between South Korea and Japan.

In protest, Tokyo called off agreed-upon talks between President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during the G7 meeting in Britain over the weekend, a foreign ministry official in Seoul was quoted as saying by the Yonhap News Agency.

South Korea regained its sovereignty over the islets after liberation from the 1910-1945 Japanese colonisation of the Korean Peninsula.

The islets were incorporated into Japan during the colonisation.