Islands disputed by two Asian neighbours are at the centre of a fresh flare-up of tension.
South Korea has flexed its military muscles, staging a defence drill to drive back any foreign landings from the outcrop it calls Dokdo. This has outraged rival claimant Japan. Tokyo has formally protested, deploring an “unacceptable” exercise on what the Japanese know as the Takeshima islands.
“We have maintained that the Takeshima islands are both historically and under international law Japanese territory and that is why we have lodged our protests,” said Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Seoul however defends its right to stage the drill. South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Wee Yong-sub said that the exercise was aimed at preventing people from Japan’s far-right from landing illegally on the islands.
South Korea staged the drill, while celebrating what it calls ‘Dokdo Day’. Koreans still harbour bitter resentment of Japanese colonial rule from 1910 to 1945.