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(LEAD) N. Korea blasts Japan for fresh provocation over Dokdo

All Headlines 18:09 July 20, 2011

(ATTN: ADDS Japanese lawmakers' flight reservation in last para)

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Wednesday blasted Japan for what it said was a scheme to lay claims to the South Korean islets of Dokdo, days after a group of Japanese lawmakers announced it will visit the nearby island of Ulleung.

In a commentary carried by the North's official Web site, Uriminzokkiri, the communist state warned against inaction, saying Dokdo was a treasure of the Korean people that should be passed down for generations. South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo have long been a major thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo, as the latter periodically renews its territorial claims, often in school textbooks.

"We are determined to take 1,000 times our people's revenge for Japan's reactionary moves, which, far from apologizing or compensating for the immeasurable unhappiness and pain inflicted upon our people, only scheme to take away our land," the commentary said.

The Koreas reject Japan's claims to the islets as nonsense, saying they reclaimed sovereignty over their territory at the end of Tokyo's 1910-45 colonial rule of the peninsula.

"The entire people must unite to resolutely crush the scheme to seize Dokdo, in order that the Japanese reactionaries may never again set sight on our land. This is our generation's demand and the call of the people," the commentary said.

The remarks came five days after four lawmakers of Japan's conservative opposition Liberal Democratic Party announced that they will visit Ulleung Island, sandwiched between South Korea's east coast and Dokdo, early next month. The announcement, coupled with the Japanese foreign ministry's recent instructions to avoid Korean Air flights, caused a furore in Seoul, with South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik on Tuesday expressing "deep regret" over the double move.

Japan's foreign ministry officials were told to refrain from taking Korean Air flights for one month starting this Monday to protest the airline's special flight over Dokdo in mid-June.

The lawmakers have already booked their flight to Seoul on Aug. 1 and plan to return home three days later, a source told Yonhap News Agency on the condition of anonymity. The group had said it will visit Ulleung Island on Aug. 2-3 during its four-day stay in the country.

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