Saturday, December 10, 2022

Japan Lodges Formal Protest As South Korea Conducts Military Drills To Defend Disputed Islands

Japan has protested against the military drills of the Republic of Korea’s armed forces at Takeshima (Korean Dokdo, also known as the Liancourt Islands) in the Sea of ​​Japan, which are the subject of a territorial dispute between the two countries. This was announced on Wednesday by the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The protest was communicated through diplomatic channels. It noted that Japan considers the actions of South Korea “unacceptable and extremely regrettable.”

The Republic of Korea conducted the first exercise to protect these islands in 1986. Since 2003, they have been organized twice a year.

Takeshima is a group of small islands with a total area of ​​0.188 sq. km located east of the Korean Peninsula. These uninhabited rocky areas became the subject of an international dispute after 1945, when Korea was liberated from Japanese colonial rule. The islands are now controlled by the South Korean Armed Forces.

Meanwhile,  South Korea and the United Stated have reconciled the text of a declaration seeking to put an end to the Korean War, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, said on Wednesday.

“Regarding the end-of-war declaration, South Korea and the US have already shared the understanding on its importance, and the two sides have effectively reached an agreement on its draft text,” Chung Eui-yong said at a press conference, as cited by Yonhap.

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Fila Image: Japan Armed Forces

It is the first time Seoul mentions clear progress on elaborating the declaration.

The minister mentioned that the government considers different approaches to achieve progress in negotiations with North Korea but has yet to share the declaration’s draft text with North Korea and receive any response from Pyongyang via China’s diplomatic pipelines.

In November 2021, the minister said that South Korea and the US agreed on the Korean War Declaration’s general outline. He mentioned that the two had a shared stance regarding the need to declare an end to the war as “the first step to return North Korea to a dialogue.”

At the end of September, South Korean President Moon Jae-in while addressing a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly proposed to declare the end of the war on the Korean peninsula in the presence of the US and China as it would help to achieve denuclearization in the region.

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File Image: An air-to-air right side view of 432nd Tactical Fighter Wing F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft, foreground, and Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15J Eagle aircraft in formation during Exercise COPE NORTH 88-3.

The same month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the South of sticking to biased and unfair “double standards” in its policy and failure to put words into action.

The Korean peninsula is still formally in a state of war since the parties to the conflict signed an armistice, not a peace treaty. It was signed by the commanders of North Korea and China on one side, and the US under the United Nations on the other. North Korea has since made several proposals to sign a peace treaty, all of them were rejected by the US.

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