Seoul reinforces website on Dokdo

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Seoul reinforces website on Dokdo

Tokyo launched a new governmental Internet portal site bolstering its claim over the Dokdo islets in the East Sea at the same time the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul reinforced its own website, describing Korea’s easternmost islets as the country’s first sacrifice in Japan’s invasion of the peninsula.

On its website, the Japanese government’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination on Territory and Sovereignty offered a database of nearly 100 electronic documents, photographs and articles on Dokdo, which it calls Takeshima. It also offered an electronic data archive pushing its claims on the Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyu.

Eriko Yamatani, the minister in charge of territorial issues, said in a press conference on Friday that the site offers “200 documents that show that Japan ruled Takeshima and the Senkaku islands even before World War II.”

While the Japanese Foreign Ministry also offers data on its official website on Japan’s claims over Dokdo, this is the first time the Japanese government has launched a separate database. Yamatani said that the content of the website does not express the Japanese government’s opinion, however, and that it is merely intended to inform the public.

Still, the documents on the website date back only from around 1905 to the 1960s, which includes the period Japan occupied Korea.

The Japanese government said it plans to add English summaries of the data in the future.

The Korean Foreign Ministry countered by adding on its official website further details disclaiming Tokyo’s claim over Dokdo, adding to its resources category a new section titled, “Dokdo is the first sacrifice in Japan’s invasion of Korea.”

Seoul maintains that there is no dispute over Dokdo, which is an integral part of Korean territory, historically, geographically and under international law.

In its English translation, the new page states that “the aggression took place by steps, culminating in the annexation of the whole of Korea into Japan in 1910.”

It continues that for all practical purposes, however, Japan had seized the authority to control Korea in 1904 through what is known as the Korea-Japan Protocol, as well as the first agreement between Korea and Japan.

“It was one year after these agreements that the Shimane Prefectural Government allegedly incorporated Dokdo into its jurisdiction. Thus, Dokdo was the first Korean territory made victim to Japanese aggression.”

The website on Dokdo by Korea’s Foreign Ministry is offered in 11 languages in addition to Korean.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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