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East Sea drill scaled up in light of trade row with Tokyo, threats from China and Russia Updated: 2019-08-26 16:29:09 KST

South Korea's twice-yearly maritime drill to defend the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo ended on Monday.
The two-day 'East Sea Territory Defense Exercise' involved the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.
With the drill now over, the government will be reviewing the time and scale of a second drill to be held this year and deciding on a name for it.

"The name willl be determined considering the drill's scale, traits and the overall situation. The time of the next drill is not yet set."

The drill began only four days after Seoul decided to pull out of its bilateral intel-sharing pact with Japan.
The drills usually take place in June and December, but the first one this year was delayed until now due to concerns that it could worsen Seoul's relationship with Tokyo.
Japan has been making false territorial claims to South Korea's Dokdo islets.
But in light of the recent trade spat, South Korea changed course and came back with a Dokdo drill that's twice as big as previous ones.

10 warplanes and 10 warships have been deployed, one of which is Seoul's first Aegis-equipped destroyer, Sejong the Great, included in the drill for the first time.
Plus, the drill covered a larger area than the past, this time including the eastern island of Ulleng-do as well.
In a rare move, the military also revealed photos and footage of the drill.

The East Sea drill is widely seen as South Korea's second countermeasure, after terminating GSOMIA, against Japan's exclusion of Seoul from its whitelist of preferred trading partners.
But the drills are also to keep China and Russia in check.
Last month, a Russian airplane intruded into South Korean airspace over Dokdo twice and two Chinese and Russian aircraft entered South Korea's air defense identification zone.

Seoul's presidential office said the drill was to boost military capabilities against potential threats from (quote)"all forces."
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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