SEOUL, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The South Korean Navy on Friday conducted a live-fire drill in eastern waters, despite Japan's call for cancellation, to strengthen its capability to detect and strike the possibly invaded submarines from the Democratic People' s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Army Col. Wi Yong-seop, vice spokesman at the South Korean Defense Ministry, told a routine press briefing that the firing exercise is being carried out as planned, saying any demand or intervention is not under consideration when staging military drills for South Korea's independent defense.
Mobilizing 19 naval ships, two anti-submarine surveillance aircraft and a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter, the one-day naval exercise was being conducted in waters some 50 km off the country' s eastern port of Jukbyeon.
The exercise came a day after Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga urged South Korea not to stage the live-fire drill near a group of disputed islets, called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.
Japan called on the South Korean embassy in Tokyo to cancel the exercise, which caused harsh criticism from the South Korean Foreign Ministry.
The Dokdo islets, lying halfway between the two countries, have continuously raised diplomatic ire between Seoul and Tokyo.
South Korea claimed the Dokdo was the first victim of the imperialistic Japan's occupation of Korea. In 1905, the militaristic Japan unilaterally incorporated the islets into the Shimane Prefecture. South Korea was colonized by Japan between 1910 and 1945.
South Korea has controlled the rocky outcroppings since 1954 when it stationed border guards there.