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S Korea begins naval event without Japan after 'Rising Sun' flag row

AFP  |  Seoul 

on Wednesday kicked off an international fleet review involving 13 nations, after bowed out in protest at Seoul's demand it remove a controversial 'Rising Sun' naval flag from Tokyo's warship.

The five-day event off the southern island of had initially included the Japanese navy, whose plan to fly the flag caused fury and a series of anti-protests in its former colony.

The emblem has been an ensign for Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Forces since 1954, but is seen in much of as a symbol of its military aggression during the Second World War.

Koreans remain resentful of Japan's 1910-45 colonisation of the peninsula and the neighbours -- both of them US allies --- have often locked horns over issues of history and a territorial row over Seoul-controlled islets also claimed by

last week withdrew from the review after asked all participating countries to display only their national flag and the South's on their vessels.

Tokyo dismissed the request, arguing that it was mandatory to fly the "Rising Sun" flag under Japanese law.

"The event started this morning as scheduled," a for the told AFP.

A total of 13 countries including the South, the US, and are set to show off 41 warships -- including the USS Ronald Reagan -- and more than 20 military planes at this year's event, with the main display on Thursday.

and the US have sent the largest contingents, with three warships each, Moscow's including the Varyag missile cruiser. has sent delegates but no vessel.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 12:35 IST