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Japan opposes military drills near contested islands by South Korea

Japan vociferously protested when South Korea staged military drills near a contested island archipelago. This comes at a time when South Korea is about to cut down the amount of military drills with the United States to initiate stabilization in the region. 

Under the military drills pursued by South Korea, there were F-15K fighter jets, Black Hawk helicopters and six warships. The drills were undertaken to practice the defense of Dokdo Island, called Takeshima in Japan, which are located east of Korean Peninsula. Japan also lay claim on these islands. These military drills by South Korea occur twice every year and last almost two days.

A representative of the foreign ministry of Japan stated called upon South Korea to halt the military drills by stating that in the light of Japan’s position on the territorial right of Takeshima we cannot accept the military drills. President Trump, during the Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un, stated that the “war games” with South Korea will end to save money and to bring peace in the region. However, the recent military drills by South Korea do not come under the umbrella of these “war games”.

The islands under dispute have been controversial for centuries. These are located 135 miles (217 kilometers) from the coast of South Korea. Japan lays claim to the rocky outcrops which are the two large islands and 89 small islets. These are present in the Japanese territory since 17th century. However, South Korea says that its claims to these islands go back as early as sixth century.

These islands have been a source of acute tensions between Seoul and Tokyo over the past decades. The dispute erupted twice this year – at the time of Winter Olympics and before the summit between South Korean President and Kim Jong Un. South Korea has repeatedly used these islands on its maps over the years and Japan has protested at each occasion. In the 1950s, South Korea even stationed armed guards on these islands to cement its control.

  • South Korea
  • Japan
  • Military Drills
  • Dokdo Islands
  • Takeshima Islands