S. Korea protests Japan’s claim over Dokdo

South Korea has lodged a strong complaint over Japan’s renewed campaign to lay claim to Dokdo, a cluster of South Korean islets in the East Sea, a government official said Tuesday.

In February, Japan’s Foreign Ministry claimed on its Web site that Dokdo belongs to its territory both historically and legally.

Dokdo, known for its rich fishing waters, is the decades-old cause of a serious diplomatic row between the two neighboring nations, although Seoul effectively controls it. A small unit of South Korean maritime police is stationed on the inhabited rocky outcroppings.

“We already filed a strong complaint through a diplomatic channel shortly after the message appeared on the Web site,” a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said, asking not to be named. “But it has not been deleted yet. We will continue to cope sternly with such a claim.”

The government is considering more countermeasures, he added.

Some Japanese politicians, right-wing scholars, and local authorities have made frequent efforts to claim Tokyo’s sovereignty over Dokdo, but it is rare for the Foreign Ministry to formally do so.

The ministry’s move is expected to affect the new South Korean administration’s pursuit of stronger ties with Japan.

Seoul-Tokyo relations have often been strained due to territorial and historical disputes, a consequence of Japan’s colonial rule of Korea from 1910-45.

President Lee Myung-bak has vowed to seek a future-oriented relationship between Seoul and Tokyo.

Lee is scheduled to hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in Tokyo later this month.

SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap)

The Hankyoreh | Original News @ HERE
Date : Apr. 9. 2008


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