South Korean Marines have started their largest-ever training to defend the eastern island of Ulleung, the Marine Corps said Sunday.
Ulleung Island, some 120 kilometers off the eastern coast, is located near Dokdo, a set of rocky islets owned by Seoul but claimed by Tokyo. It is the country's eighth-largest island with a population of 10,000.
More than 90 Marines are participating in the monthlong drills that kicked off last Friday.
It marks the first time for a company-size number of Marines to be mobilized for the regular practice that began in 2013. A platoon joined previous ones.
"The exercise this time focuses on improving the capability to carry out the mission of rapid response forces," the Marine Corps said.
|South Korean Marines head to Ulleung Island for their biggest-ever training to defend the eastern island in this photo provided by the Marine Corps. (Yonhap)|
It cited the complicated and peculiar geographical nature of such an island.
The troops were deployed to Ulleung Island on the Navy's tank landing ship over the weekend for the four-week drills, which include live-fire shooting, rappelling and rapid engagement.
They also plan to conduct a disaster-relief training.
"Through the Ulleung Island deployment exercise this time, we will maintain the capability and posture to perfectly complete a mission under all operational conditions," said Lt. Kim Hyung-do, chief of the company.
South Korea is considering the deployment of a Marine Corps unit to Ulleung Island on a rotational basis. (Yonhap)
|South Korean Marines arrive on Ulleung Island for an exercise in this photo provided by the Marine Corps. (Yonhap)|
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