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Parliamentary Dokdo panel vows to counter Japan’s provocations

Amid the escalating tension between Korea and Japan over Dokdo, the parliamentary Dokdo committee pledged to stand against Japan’s provocative claims over the islets by holding a meeting there next Friday, as originally planned.

“The decision (to hold a committee meeting on Dokdo) was confirmed back in March, but the schedule has been delayed several times due to weather conditions,” said Kang Chang-il, committee chairman and main opposition Democratic Party lawmaker, in a radio interview on Wednesday.

“Dokdo clearly belongs to the Korean jurisdiction and there is nothing wrong for lawmakers of the country to hold a parliamentary meeting there.”

The meeting will be attended not only by committee lawmakers, but also by the land minister and head of Culture Heritage Administration, officials said.

The committee thus explicitly rejected Japanese Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto’s request that it drop the Dokdo meeting plan.

On its visit to Dokdo next week, the committee is to adopt a resolution censuring Japan’s recent series of actions, such as publishing a defense white paper which claims territorial ownership over Dokdo, officials said.

Also, three Japanese opposition lawmakers attempted on Monday to visit Ulleungdo, the island neighboring Dokdo. Though they waited for entry permission for hours at Gimpo Airport, they were denied entry and turned back to Japan in the evening.

Rep. Kang also urged President Lee Myung-bak to pay an official visit to the islet, not as a private individual but as the head of state.

“The entry attempt by the Japanese lawmakers was not a one-off incident but part of Japan’s long-term scheme to revive its former militaristic glory,” he said.

“All actions which deny our constitutional territorial sovereignty must be blocked by all means.”

Rep. Kang also demanded that the government keep a closer watch on ultrarightists in Japan who repeatedly make territorial claims on Dokdo.

“Japan is making explicit provocations and we may lose part of our territory through international disputes as Japan seeks, should we be caught off our guards on the issue,” he said.

Parties also expressed their regrets over Japan’s actions.

“Japan, by including its unlawful claim over Dokdo in its defense white paper, is ignoring international law and order,” said Rep. Hwang Woo-yea, floor leader of the ruling Grand National Party, on Tuesday.

DP chairman Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu also sent his warnings to the Japanese parliament, for “creating a disturbance.”

Byun Ung-jun, chairman of the minority Liberty Forward Party blamed the Lee Myung-bak administration for its past years of passive diplomacy.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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