Japan’s Dokdo claims spur protest from Korea

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Japan’s Dokdo claims spur protest from Korea

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a strong protest on Monday over Japan’s renewed claims to Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, which overshadowed budding efforts to defuse a row between the two countries over wartime history and trade.

The ministry called in Hirohisa Soma, a senior official of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to express regrets over the claims, long a thorn in the already fraught relations between Seoul and its onetime colonizer, Tokyo.

In a parliamentary speech earlier in the day, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said that the East Sea islets are inherently Japan’s territory.

Further irking Koreans, Tokyo held a ceremony launching an expanded exhibition facility to reinforce its sovereignty claims to Dokdo and other islands claimed by other countries.

“The government strongly protests the fact that the Japanese government, through a diplomatic speech by its foreign minister, repeated the improper claim to Dokdo, which is inherently our territory, and we urge it to immediately retract the claim,” Kim In-chul, the ministry’s spokesman, said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the spokesman urged Tokyo to immediately shut down the exhibition facility.

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