Aerial view of Dokdo islets (The Korea Herald)
WASHINGTON -- The US State Department expressed hope Tuesday for a peaceful resolution of a row between South Korea and Japan over Tokyo's claims to the South's easternmost islets of Dokdo in the East Sea.
"The United States does not take a position regarding the sovereignty of the Liancourt Rocks," the State Department official said, referring to Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan. "The question of the sovereignty of these islands is for the ROK and Japan to resolve peacefully."
ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.
Dokdo has long been a source of tension between Seoul and Tokyo, whose relations are already at the bottom over what many in South Korea believe to be Japan's latest attempt to whitewash its atrocities during its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea that include sexual slavery and forced labor.
Japan again laid a territorial claim to Dokdo in this year's defense white paper, prompting strong protests from the South Korean government.
Japan's latest territorial claim also came amid its ongoing talks with South Korea over a possible meeting between their leaders later this month on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games, partly to discuss how to address the countries' protracted rows over their shared history.
South Korea has been in effective control of Dokdo since its liberation from the Japanese colonial rule in 1945.(Yonhap)