Japan’s ‘provocations’ condemned

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Japan’s ‘provocations’ condemned

The National Assembly’s special committee on Japan’s distortion of East Asian history adopted a resolution condemning what it called a series of attempts by Tokyo to “distort history” and “encroach on the territorial sovereignty of Korea,” a move that will do little to improve frosty bilateral relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

In the bipartisan resolution adopted Friday, lawmakers criticized what it described as Japan’s continuing provocations against Korea, particularly its recent approval of all history textbooks in elementary and middle schools depicting Korea’s sovereignty over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea as “illegal occupation.”

“We strongly urge the Japanese government to withdraw its approval of textbooks that say Dokdo belongs to Japan and its decision to apply that distortion to all middle school classes,” said the resolution.

The resolution also expressed regrets about Japan’s ongoing distortion of history on the year of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries, saying Japan is showing a double-standard attitude when it comes to bilateral relations.

“We express our deepest regret over Japan’s double-standard attitude in which it says it will work toward future-oriented relationship with Seoul on the 50th year anniversary of diplomatic normalization while actively striving to distort history and steal territorial sovereignty [from Korea].”

The strongly-worded resolution will be put forward in a plenary session to be voted on by all lawmakers, who are expected to approve of it without much dissent.

The bipartisan move Friday came a day after Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo held a surprise press conference at which he strongly condemned Japan’s latest moves to whitewash its wartime aggressions and its ongoing claim over Dokdo.

Frayed Seoul-Tokyo relations hit another low this week.

In the 2015 Diplomatic Bluebook, which was reported Tuesday to the Japanese parliament by its foreign ministry, Tokyo claimed that Dokdo, which it refers to as Takeshima, “is clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law.” This is in line with Japan’s claims for the past eight years in its Bluebook.

Seoul maintains that Dokdo, which it controls, is not disputed and is historically, geographically and by international law Korean territory.

Compared with last year, the foreign policy report deleted a phrase that said Japan and Korea “share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, and respect for basic human rights.”

The language left unchanged says the two countries are the “most important neighboring countries.”

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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