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Motorcyclist throws brick through door of S. Korean consulate in Hiroshima


A motorcyclist wearing a helmet threw a brick through the glass entrance door of the South Korean consulate office in Hiroshima on early Saturday, consulate officials said, amid diplomatic tensions over the unprecedented visit by President Lee Myung-bak to Seoul's easternmost islets of Dokdo, which Tokyo has long claimed as its own.

No one was hurt in the apparent attack that left a hole in the door. South Korean diplomats in Hiroshima said it might be related to Friday's visit by Lee to Dokdo.

According to the consulate office's CCTV footage, the person, who is believed to be a man, threw the brick through the glass door while operating a motorcycle around 2:50 a.m. on Saturday.

Japanese police officers were standing close by the consulate office, but the person quickly disappeared from their view when they arrived at the scene after hearing a loud crash, consulate officials said.

Japanese police were investigating the case as a possible response to Lee's visit to Dokdo, they said.

On Friday, Lee visited the rocky outcroppings lying in the East Sea, around halfway between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, becoming the first South Korean president ever to visit the islets.

Japan lodged strong protests against the surprise visit, recalling its ambassador from Seoul, calling in South Korea's envoy to Tokyo and warning that the trip will seriously worsen relations between the two countries.

Japan has long laid claims to Dokdo in school textbooks, government reports and other ways, undercutting better ties between the neighboring nations.

South Koreans see those claims as amounting to denying Korea's rights because the country regained independence from Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, which includes Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea has kept a small police detachment on Dokdo since 1954.

The territorial claims have been viewed by South Koreans as a sign Japan has not fully repented for its imperialist past, along with Tokyo's refusal to address long-running grievances of elderly Korean women forced into sexual slavery for Japanese troops during World War II.

Meanwhile, Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said Saturday that Tokyo was considering taking the issue of Dokdo to the International Court of Justice.

Gemba told reporters in Tokyo that he was reviewing "measures designed to peacefully resolve conflicts on the basis of international law, including bringing the case to the International Court of Justice," according to a report by the Kyodo news agency. (Yonhap News)

<관련 한글 기사>

‘분노한’ 일본인, 한국영사관에 벽돌 던져

이명박 대통령의 독도 방문 직후 주 히로시마 (廣島) 한국 총영사관에 누군가 벽돌을 던지고 달아나는 사건이 벌어졌다.

11일 주 히로시마 한국 총영사관에 따르면 이날 오전 2시50분께 히로시마시 미나미(南)구에 있는 총영사관 출입용 유리문이 벽돌에 부딪혀 구멍이 뚫렸다. 인명 피해는 없었다.

보안용 폐쇄회로(CC) TV 화면을 분석한 결과 헬멧을 쓴 남성(추정)이 오토바이를 타고 총영사관 옆 인도를 달리던 도중에 벽돌을 던진 뒤 차도로 빠져나간 것으로 나타났다.

당시 총영사관 출입문에서 2m 정도 떨어진 곳에는 일본 경찰차가 대기 중이었지만, 일본 경찰관 2명이 충격음을 듣고 차에서 뛰쳐나왔을 때에는 오토바이가 사라진 뒤였다. 총영사관과 일본 경찰은 이 대통령의 독도 방문에 불만을 느낀 일본인이 벽 돌을 던진 곳으로 보고 조사하고 있다.

히로시마 총영사관은 1997년 문을 열었고, 2010년 3월에 현재의 5층 건물 중 1∼3층을 임차해 입주했다. 총영사관 근무자가 적어 야간 당직자는 없다.

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