June 19, 2018 12:01
The Japanese government has demanded that Korea halt military drills to boost the defense of its easternmost islets of Dokdo that began on Monday.
The Defense Ministry is holding the two-day exercise involving the Navy, Marines, Maritime Police and Air Force twice a year, mobilizing six naval vessels and seven aircraft.
But Japan insists on a flimsy colonial claim to the islets and says the drills are "totally unacceptable."
Kenji Kanasugi at the Japanese Foreign Ministry telephoned Lee Hee-sup, a minister at the Korean Embassy in Tokyo. And Koichi Mizushima, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, also protested to the Korean Foreign Ministry.
The Korean government brushed off the demands. Defense Ministry spokesman Choi Hyun-soo said, "The Dokdo defense drills are regular military exercises designed to thwart a foreign invasion of our sovereign territory."
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