South Korea Denounces Japan’s Latest Claims to Dokdo Islets

kpride, July 21, 2015, 10:18 a.m.

South Korea's ruling and main opposition parties lashed out at Japan on Tuesday over its renewed territorial claim to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo in an annual defense white paper. The defense report, approved by the Japanese Cabinet earlier in the day, called Dokdo Japanese "sovereign territory," along with the Kuril Islands controlled by Russia. It is the 11th straight year that Tokyo has laid claim to Dokdo in the annual paper.

The ruling Saenuri Party repeated Seoul's long-standing position, saying that Dokdo is clearly the territory of South Korea in terms of history, geography and international law. "The party strongly condemns the duality of the Japanese government of arguing for improving the Seoul-Tokyo relations and at the same time failing to get rid of its delusion of militarism," said Kim Young-woo, a ruling party spokesman.

Kim Yung-rok, a spokesman for the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, also warned Japan against repeating its claims over Dokdo each year for the 11th time. "The party strongly condemns Japan's brazen act of territorial claim to Dokdo for 11 years," Kim told reporters. A South Korean provincial governor also issued a statement, urging Tokyo to immediately withdraw the defense report.

"Dokdo is clearly the territory of the Republic of Korea (South Korea)," said Kim Kwan-yong, the governor of North Gyeongsang Province, whose jurisdiction includes Dokdo. The rocky outcroppings, which lie closer to South Korea in the body of water that divides the Korean Peninsula and Japan, have long been a thorn in relations between the two neighbors. South Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.

South Korea rejects Japan's claim to Dokdo as nonsense because the country regained its independence from Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territories, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.


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