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Seoul vows stern steps over Japan’s claims to Dokdo

South Korea will act sternly should Japan move to strengthen its claims to Seoul’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in its reviewed middle school textbooks, the Foreign Ministry here said Monday.

Tokyo is currently conducting a review of its history, geography and other middle school textbooks, the result of which is expected to be unveiled this week. The renewed textbooks are believed to contain Japan’s stronger claims over the islets that have long been a source of territorial disputes between the two neighboring countries.

“Our government will deal sternly and strictly should the results of Japan’s review over its textbooks contain the country’s unlawful territorial claim over Dokdo or distortion of history,” Cho Byung-jae, the spokesman of Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said.

“Japan is fully responsible for any diplomatic fallout between the two sides in this case.”

The remarks by Cho came as Seoul’s Prime Minister’s Office held an emergency meeting with related ministries to discuss countermeasures to Tokyo’s possible territorial claims.

Another official at the Foreign Ministry here told reporters that Seoul will be dealing with the case “not by words but by action.”

Despite South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s policy to oversee Japan’s brutal colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula decades ago for future-oriented ties, Tokyo’s repeated claims over Dokdo and distortion of history related to its wartime past have often been a thorny diplomatic issue.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)
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