South Korea's Navy said Monday it will soon kick off a regular exercise on defending the nation's easternmost islets of Dokdo amid Japan's continued territorial claim.
The two-day training is to start in the afternoon, involving the 3,200-ton Yangmanchun destroyer and five other warships as well as seven aircraft including P-3C maritime surveillance planes, UH-60 Blackhawk choppers, the Air Force's F-15K fighter jets.
A unit of marines will also be mobilized for a landing exercise.
The military first staged such a Dokdo defense practice in 1986. Since 2003, it has conducted the drills twice a year in a show of Seoul's effective control of the rocky islets, which are inhabited by just a small Coast Guard detachment, and improve capacity to defend the territory.
Japan's foreign ministry delivered its routine protest message to South Korea through a diplomatic channel, broadcast NHK reported.
Last month, it again laid claim to the sovereignty over Dokdo in the East Sea in a yearly foreign policy document, known as the Diplomatic Bluebook. (yonhap)