Korea responds angrily to Dokdo provocations

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Korea responds angrily to Dokdo provocations

The Korean government swiftly criticized Tokyo’s declaration yesterday that it would revise teaching guidelines to stipulate that the Dokdo islets in the East Sea are Japanese territory in its school textbooks.

Hakubun Shimomura, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, yesterday confirmed earlier reports about the changes.

“As an independent nation, it is our right to be able to teach our kids about our indigenous territory,” he said, adding it is “important for children to understand about Japan’s territories.”

Shimomura went on to criticize Korea and China’s protests, calling them “not right at all,” saying the Japanese government would continue to push the matter.

Cho Tai-young, spokesman of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responded strongly to Shimomura’s comments at a briefing yesterday.

“Such actions from Japan represent very incorrect behavior,” said Cho, “serving as a reminder of its ambitions for territorial expansion in its imperialist past.”

He added that, should Japan follow through with such measures, it would be “contradictory to the two countries’ friendship” and that “Japan will be responsible for all the consequences.”

Such teaching manuals, although they are not legally binding, serve as guidelines for Japanese middle schools and high schools and are used by textbook publishers.

Reports emerged over the weekend that Japan was planning to revise its teaching guidelines.

In response, Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned an envoy from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Sunday to verify the reports and request Tokyo halt the changes.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also responded, saying it would take “a firm response” in case of further provocations on the issue.

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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