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South Korea conducts drills near disputed Dokdo islets


According to information published by Xinhua on June 14, 2021, South Korea's armed forces will conduct a defense drill near the islets disputed with Japan. The maritime exercise, called the East Sea Territory Protection Exercise, will be staged near the Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong destroyer near Kokdo islets in 2019 (Picture source: The Korea Times)


The exercise, which has been held usually twice a year since 1986, would reportedly mobilize naval and coast guard vessels, fighter jets and maritime patrol aircraft.

Japan has protested against the exercise as it laid territorial claims to the rocky outcroppings lying halfway between South Korea and Japan.

ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong is the third ship of the Sejong the Great-class destroyers built for the Republic of Korean Navy. She was the third Aegis-built ship of the service and was named after a scholar-official of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong.

The Sejong the Great class is the third phase of the South Korean navy's Korean Destroyer eXperimental (KDX) program, a substantial shipbuilding program, which is geared toward enhancing ROKN's ability to successfully defend the maritime areas around South Korea from various modes of threats as well as becoming a blue-water navy.

At 8,500 tons standard displacement and 11,000 tons full load, the KDX-III Sejong the Great destroyers are by far the largest destroyers in the South Korean Navy.

The ships are larger than most destroyers in the navies of other countries and built slightly bulkier and heavier than Arleigh Burke-class destroyers or Atago-class destroyers to accommodate 32 more missiles.

As such, some analysts believe that this class of ships is more appropriately termed a class of cruisers rather than destroyers. KDX-III are currently the largest ships to carry the Aegis combat system.