South Korean Navy kicks off Dokdo defense drill

South Korean Navy kicks off Dokdo defense drill


South Korea’s Navy is holding a special defense
drill in waters surrounding Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo. Seoul is hoping to send Japan a stern message
that it should stop making baseless territorial claims to the East Sea islets. Kim Hyun-bin reports. According to a Navy official, the drills that
began Thursday are an effort to defend Dokdo from possible aggression by outside forces. That’s an apparent reference to Japan, which
claims, wrongfully, that it holds sovereignty over the islets. The warships involved in the two-day exercise
include a 32-hundred-ton Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyer and six other naval ships. The coast guard as well as F-15k fighter jets
and P-3 surveillance planes are also taking part. On the islets themselves, marine units are
conducting a landing drill. The Navy official says the drills are a regular
event held twice a year since 1986 based on the scenario of countering external threats. This is the first drill held since South Korean
President Moon Jae-in took office in mid-May. Every year Japan has strongly opposed the
exercise, and in March, its foreign minister Fumio Kishida lashed out against the drills
calling them regrettable and unacceptable. South Korea’s navy says its forces have every
right to conduct a defensive drill on its own land. “Dokdo belongs to the Republic of Korea. We believe we have to hold the regular drills
to secure our territory.” Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.

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