Korea protests Japan’s annual claim to Dokdo

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Korea protests Japan’s annual claim to Dokdo

Korea lodged a strong protest on Tuesday against Japan’s renewed claim to the Dokdo islets, a longstanding thorn in bilateral relations.

Earlier in the day, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet adopted an annual defense white paper that once again included a claim to Korea’s easternmost islets, inflaming public sentiment at a time when Seoul is seeking cooperation with Pyongyang on denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“[Our government] strongly protests the wrongful, repeated territorial claim to our inherent territory of Dokdo in the defense white paper,” Nok Kyu-duk, a spokesman for Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said, adding that the claim would not be helpful in a “future-oriented” partnership. “We once again make clear that Tokyo’s claim will never affect our sovereignty over Dokdo, which is the Republic of Korea’s inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law.”

The Korean ministry called in Koichi Mizushima, a minister at the Japanese embassy in Seoul, to lodge an official protest.

Japan laid claim to Dokdo in this year’s defense policy paper for the 14th consecutive year. “The territorial issues involving our inherent territories of the Northern Territories and Takeshima remain still unresolved,” the white paper said, referring to the four Kuril Islands and Dokdo.

Tokyo has published the policy paper including its claim to Dokdo since 2005 to describe its defense policy and security conditions surrounding Japan and the region.

Korea has had effective control of the islets, with a small police detachment stationed there, since its liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

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