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Seoul rebuts Japanese Dokdo claims

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Yonhap)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Yonhap)

Seoul on Monday strongly protested against Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi’s remarks that renewed territorial claims over South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, demanding an immediate retraction. 

South Korea’s reaction came after Hayashi reiterated Tokyo’s stance that Dokdo, which is known as Takeshima in Japan, is a territory inherent to Japan in view of historical facts and international law in his speech outlining the government’s foreign policy vision at the opening of a parliamentary session. 

“The Japanese government should stop its futile claims to Dokdo, which is clearly our inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law,” Choi Young-sam, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said in a statement. “It will have to clearly recognize that the right history perception serves as the basis for the development of future-oriented South Korea-Japan relations.”

The ministry also demanded Hayashi immediately retract his remarks.
The long-running row over who rightfully controls Dokdo has been a recurring source of tension between the two neighbors, as Tokyo continues to lay sovereignty claims in its policy papers, public remarks and school textbooks. 

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also gave a policy speech at the parliament earlier Monday, strongly urging South Korea to take appropriate action to resolve the key history issues.

The key issues refer to historical disputes stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, with Japan’s wartime forced labor and sexual slavery at the center of a bilateral feud.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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