PSI drill in South set for next week

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PSI drill in South set for next week

South Korea will host a multinational maritime drill aimed at interdicting weapons of mass destruction in its southern waters next week, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

South Korea, the United States, Japan and Australia will carry out the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) exercise on Sept. 27 in waters 100 kilometers south of the southern port city of Busan, the ministry said.

Seven warships and 11 aircraft from the four nations will participate in the exercise.

Unlike the other three nations, however, a Japanese ship will not enter the Busan port, a senior official said, a decision believed to reflect the recent souring of relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

Ties between South Korea and Japan have plunged to one of their lowest ebbs after President Lee Myung-bak made an unprecedented visit to the eastern islets of Dokdo last month. Japan claims the East Sea islets as its own.

“Japan seems to be aware of the anti-Japan sentiment in South Korea over Dokdo,” the official said, asking anonymity due to sensitivity of the issue.

“It seems that a Japanese warship will not enter the port over worries that protests may take place near the Busan port,” he said.

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