Korea sends document to refute Japan's proposal over Dokdo
Korea sent a diplomatic document to Japan on Thursday, dismissing Tokyo's latest proposal to take the sovereignty issue of Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Last week, Tokyo handed over to Seoul a "note verbale," a diplomatic document that is unsigned but more formal than a verbal request, suggesting that both sides jointly refer the Dokdo issue to the ICJ for settlement.
In its reply delivered to Tokyo via Kotaro Otsuki, a political councilor at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Korea made it clear once again that "no territorial disputes exist about Dokdo," which is Korea's territory historically, geographically and under international laws, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.
The Japanese proposal is not feasible as it must secure South Korea's consent to have the issue dealt with by the ICJ, according to the ministry. Two similar proposals by Japan in 1954 and 1962 were also instantly rejected.
"Tokyo's groundless and unjustified claims about Dokdo constitute the violation of our sovereignty, and we sternly urge Tokyo to instantly stop such acts," Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said.
"Along with sending the document, we verbally reminded Tokyo of the historical facts that Dokdo was the first victim of the Japanese imperialist invasion into the Korean Peninsula but was reclaimed as an inseparable part of South Korea's territory following Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces (in 1945)."
The Japanese official who was called in to accept the document said Tokyo has a different position to what South Korea expressed that day, which was instantly rejected by Seoul officials, according to the spokesman.
Tension has heightened in recent weeks after Tokyo strongly protested President Lee Myung-bak's unprecedented trip to Dokdo on Aug. 10. Bilateral relations deteriorated further after Lee later called on Japanese Emperor Akihito to apologize if he wishes to visit Korea.
Japan has frequently laid claims to Korea's rocky outcroppings of Dokdo in the East Sea, stoking enmity in South Korea against its former colonial ruler.
South Koreans see those claims as amounting to denying Korea's rights because the country regained independence from the 1910-45 Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, which includes Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.
Dismissing Japan's proposal to bring the case to the international court, South Korea also vowed to step up a public relations drive worldwide to help counter Japan's territorial claims to Dokdo.
"Japan should stop making its case for our Dokdo in the international community. So far, the Korean government has been launching diverse activities to let the world know of the truth about the islets and will continue to do so," Cho said.
Among other potential measures, the ministry plans to make efforts to teach international law and history scholars more about Dokdo and distribute promotional brochures on Dokdo in the English and Japanese languages, according to ministry officials. (Yonhap)