Korea to Resume Dokdo Defense Drills

  • By Yang Seung-sik

    August 05, 2019 09:35

    Korea plans to resume exercises designed to thwart an armed invasion of the easternmost islets of Dokdo later this month as tensions with Japan heat up.

    "We can no longer postpone regular exercises," a military spokesman said Sunday.

    The news comes just days after Japan removed Korea from a "whitelist" of preferred trading partners and follows a recent incursions into Korea's airspace by Russian and Chinese warplanes.

    "The biannual Dokdo defense drills were postponed this year due to deteriorating diplomatic relations with Japan," the spokesman said. "But there are widespread views that we can't delay them any longer at a time when Japan is aggravating the situation." 

    Tokyo increasingly trumpets a flimsy colonial-era claim to the islets. 

    The Dokdo drills are expected to take place after Liberation Day on Aug. 15. The Navy takes a lead in the drills, which usually last two days, joined by the maritime police and Air Force.

    Japan is likely to take virulent exception, having lodged protests every time Korea conducted the defense drills.

    Shin Beom-chul at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies said, "The government seems to use the drills to pressure Japan amid rising tensions, but Japan could retaliate and send surveillance ships to intensify the tensions." 

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