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S.Korea’s military launches maritime defense drills in East Sea after ending GSOMIA with Japan

The South Korean navy said in a statement that it would stage the “territory defense exercises” in the East Sea from Sunday to Monday.

SNS | New Delhi |

The South Korean armed forces launched a two-day military exercise to defend the easternmost islets of Dokdo on Sunday, just three days after ending the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) with Japan.

The South Korean navy said in a statement that it would stage the “territory defense exercises” in the East Sea from Sunday to Monday.

The drills have been held twice a year, usually in June and December.

On Thursday, South Korea terminated the GSOMIA, which was signed in November 2016 with Japan to share military intelligence on nuclear and missile programs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The termination came as Japan removed South Korea earlier this month from its whitelist of trusted trading partners that are given the preferential export procedure. In response, Seoul dropped Tokyo off its whitelist of trusted export partners.

Last month, Japan tightened regulations on its export to South Korea of three materials vital to produce memory chips and display panels, triggering the trade dispute between the two countries.

South Korea has maintained effective control of the nation’s easternmost islets with a small police detachment since its liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

Japan has persistently laid claim to Dokdo, drawing strong condemnation from the Seoul government.

Seoul-Tokyo ties recently have plummeted to a fresh low after Japan dropped South Korea from the list of its trusted trading partners earlier this month following the announcement of tighter export curbs on July 4.