South Korea has until recently remained cautious about openly responding to Japan’s claim over Dokdo islets under the principle that it would only help put Tokyo’s provocation at the center of controversy ― something they deemed undesirable as the country has long taken control over Dokdo as its territorial sovereignty.
The stance, however, showed signs of changing in the Lee Myung-bak administration with a series of strong actions against the Tokyo’s repeated provocations.
● July, 29, 2008: Han Seung-soo, then South Korean Prime Minister, visited Dokdo for the first time as a top government official, after erecting a monument proclaiming Korea’s sovereignty of the East Sea islets.
● Aug, 1, 2011: Three right-wing Japanese lawmakers tried to visit Ulleung Island in East Sea, only to return home nine hours after being denied entry at Gimpo Airport in Seoul.
● January 24, 2012: Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said he would “tenaciously take measures” and “be firm in telling Korea what we cannot accept (compromises)” on the issue of Dokdo. Seoul called for Gemba to “immediately withdraw” the remarks.
● April 6: Japan formally issued the 2012 Diplomatic Blue Book that reiterated its claims that Dokdo is Japanese territory. The foreign ministry of Korea summoned the Japanese envoy to express Seoul’s “deepest regret“ over Tokyo’s annual foreign policy report.
● July 31: The Japanese government announced its 2012 Defense White Paper, which includes the claim that the Dokdo islets are Japan’s integral territory.
● August 8: The Seoul government issued a statement in light of Japan’s claim, saying it is “unsubstantiated.”
By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldmcom)