S.Korea voices support for stationing troops on Dokdo


SEOUL, Aug. 16 (Yonhap) — South Korea voiced support on Tuesday for stationing troops on its easternmost islets of Dokdo, prompted by reinforced Japanese moves to lay claim to the volcanic outcroppings in the East Sea between the two nations. “We have no objection in principle to stationing Marines on Dokdo as part of efforts to strengthen our sovereign control of the islets,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae told reporters. “However, there are many factors that need to be taken into account to station soldiers there.” The spokesman’s remarks came two days after the leader of South Korea’s ruling Grand National Party (GNP) publicly asked the government to station Marines on Dokdo to strengthen its sovereignty over the islets.

GNP Chairman Hong Joon-pyo urged the government on Sunday to “go beyond quiet diplomacy” over the Dokdo issue and “actively show our determination to defend Dokdo.” Diplomatic tensions between South Korea and Japan have recently flared over a renewed Japanese move to strengthen its territorial claim to Dokdo, which lies closer to South Korea in the body of waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Four lawmakers from Japan’s conservative opposition Liberal Democratic Party were banned early this month from traveling to a South Korean island close to Dokdo.

Japan’s claims over Dokdo have long been a thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo. South Korea rejects the claims as nonsense because the country regained independence from Japan’s 36-year colonial rule in 1945 and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula. Since 1954, South Korea has stationed a small police detachment on Dokdo.

Date : 2011/08/16


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