South Korea strongly protested against a Japanese rally that renewed its territorial claims to Dokdo on Thursday, calling on Tokyo to “immediately stop making such an absurd claim.”
Masazumi Gotoda, senior vice minister of the Cabinet Office, was sent to the rally held in Tokyo by Japanese lawmakers and officials from Japan‘s Shimane Prefecture earlier in the day to call for a swift resolution of the bilateral territorial issue over the set of rocky islets.
The meeting was the second of its kind since the first rally in Tokyo in 2012 to which the Japanese government also sent some government officials including a senior vice foreign minister.
“Japan’s nationalist politicians held another so-called Tokyo rally again following the previous one in 2012, repeating their nonsensical claim over our own territory,” Seoul’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “The Japanese government repeated its provocative action by sending a senior official to the rally.”
“The Japanese government should sincerely repent its infliction of great damage and pain on its neighbors in the past century while immediately stopping its unfounded claims,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said over the Thursday rally.
“If (Japan) does not do so, neighboring countries’ distrust toward Japan will further deepen and the possibility of improving South Korea-Japan relations will become lower,” the ministry said, warning against further provocations of Japan.
Dokdo was the first victim of imperialist Japan’s intrusion of the Korean Peninsula, the ministry said, referring to the South Korean stance that the islets were returned to Korea when the country regained in 1945 its independence from 30-year Japanese colonial rule over the peninsula.
If Japan continues provocative claims over Dokdo despite this historical fact, the international community will not trust the sincerity of Japan’s repeated pledges to repent its past wrongdoing and to contribute to global peace, the ministry also added.
The ministry also lodged a complaint over the rally after summoning Hisashi Michigami, a senior minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to the ministry‘s headquarters earlier in the day. (Yonhap)