South Korea’s armed forces started military training near disputed islands also claimed by Japan on Sunday amid increasing tensions between the two nations.
The drills involving South Korea’s navy, marine corps, air force and army will run through Monday, the nation’s Defense Ministry said. Japan swiftly decried the move and called for a halt to the exercises, which it said were taking place in Japanese territory.
The disputed islets are known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan. The exercises are frequently held by South Korea, but take place as relations between the two nations reach their lowest point in decades.
The drills are “intended to protect our land in the East Sea,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry said, using its terminology for the Sea of Japan. Japan’s Foreign Ministry lodged a protest with officials from South Korea’s embassy in Tokyo, saying the exercises were “unacceptable”.