NATIONAL

Seoul may act on planned Ulleungdo visit by Japanese lawmakers

By 이선영
  • Published : Jul 17, 2011 - 19:32
  • Updated : Jul 17, 2011 - 19:32
South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday it would consider countermeasures if Japanese lawmakers land on Ulleungdo, a Korean-administered island located between the two countries near the disputed island of Dokdo. Ulleungdo is Korea’s administrative and military defense base for Dokdo, which the Japanese call Takeshima.

“We’re closely monitoring the situation after learning from news media about the Japanese lawmakers’ plan for a visit,” Yonhap News quoted an unidentified ministry official as saying.

“We will consider various countermeasures if they put the idea into action.”

Last week, Shindo Yoshitaka, a lawmaker of Japan’s opposition Liberal Democratic Party, told a press conference in Tokyo that he would tour Ulleungdo on Aug. 2-3, along with three other DLP lawmakers.

“We will go see ourselves why Koreans do things that we, the Japanese, can not accept,” Japan’s Kyodo News Agency quoted the lawmaker as saying.

He referred to the Korean move to strengthen sovereignty of Dokdo through Ulleungdo. Seoul, which keeps a naval defense base in Ulleungdo, plans to build a maritime research center on the island, with some facilities to be installed on nearby Dokdo.

Korea’s Special Affairs Minister Lee Jae-oh harshly criticized the plan, saying via Twitter: “If their visit is intended at supporting their country’s groundless territorial claim on Dokdo, it amounts to the encroachment of Korea’s sovereignty. I will block their landing on the island by all means.”

The planned Ulleungdo visit comes amid aggravated bilateral relations after Korea’s flag carrier conducted a test flight over Dokdo last month.

Tokyo told its officials not to fly with Korean Air for a month starting Monday and Seoul on Friday requested it revoke the boycott.

By Lee Sun-young  (milaya@heraldcorp.com)