00:21 GMT02 April 2020
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - South Korea has begun two-day military drills aimed at defense of the disputed group of the Liancourt Rocks islets, called Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan, the Republic of Korea Navy Headquarters said.

    "The Navy will conduct the regular Dokdo defense exercise aimed at preventing the infiltration of external forces into the South Korean territory, in conjunction with a flotilla-level field exercise by the Navy's First Fleet (based in the East Sea)," the Navy was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.

    The exercise is carried out twice a year, involving the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and police.

    Sovereignty over the islands, also known as Takeshima in Japan, has been an ongoing point of contention in Japan–South Korea ties. The Liancourt Rocks have been administered by South Korea since 1954, but Tokyo disputes Seoul’s sovereignty over the territory.

    READ MORE: Seoul Warns Tokyo's Claims to Disputed Dokdo Islets May Harm Bilateral Relations

    At the same time, North Korean state-run media reported that Pyongyang also claims the islands, writing that the islands have been "the sacred territory of North Korea since ancient times."

    READ MORE: South Korea, Japan Fight Over Disputed Islands as Tensions Boil

    The previous military drills conducted by South Korea on the archipelago in June, have also been opposed by Japan.

    military drills, Dokdo Islands, Japan, South Korea
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