S. Korea Conducts Regular Takeshima Defense Drill

AP file photo

SEOUL (Jiji Press) — The South Korean military conducted late last month a semiannual drill to defend a group of small islands claimed by Japan in the Sea of Japan, National Defense Ministry officials said Friday.

The third drill under the administration of President Yoon Suk-yeol was closed to the public as was the previous exercise and was held on a reduced scale, suggesting that Yoon does not want to be overly provocative to Japan while he is mending bilateral ties, people familiar with the matter said.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, aircraft did not take part in the latest drill and no one landed on the South Korean-controlled islet group off Japan’s Shimane Prefecture, whose Japanese name is Takeshima and Korean name is Dokdo.

In response, Naoki Kumagai, chief minister at the Japanese embassy in Seoul, made a protest to Seo Min-jeong, director-general of the South Korean Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau.

In Tokyo the same day, Takehiro Funakoshi, director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, also lodged a protest with the South Korean embassy, saying the drill was “completely unacceptable and extremely regrettable” because Takeshima is inherent Japanese territory in terms of historical records and international law.