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S. Korea warns against 'political purposes' of int'l legal procedures

All Headlines 15:45 September 25, 2012

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top diplomat has warned that no country should take advantage of international legal procedures for "political purposes," a thinly veiled barb at Japan trying to take the territorial issue of Dokdo to an international court.

Addressing a high-level U.N. meeting promoting the rule of law in New York on Monday (local time), Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan also urged states to commit to the rule of law as a fundamental factor in preventing war and defending sovereignty, ministry officials said.

"International legal procedures must not be exploited for political purposes," Kim was quoted as saying by a ministry official who attended the meeting.

Kim made his speech shortly after Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba called for greater use of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve international conflicts, apparently taking aim at Seoul over the issue of South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.

Gemba also urged the world to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the U.N. court.

Diplomatic tension remains high between South Korea and Japan following the unprecedented Aug. 10 visit to Dokdo by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who cited Tokyo's unrepentant attitude over its brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula as a key reason for the trip.

South Korea has flatly rejected a Japanese proposal to take the issue of Dokdo to the ICJ, saying that no territorial dispute exists regarding Dokdo and the matter is not one to be dealt with through diplomatic negotiations or judicial settlement.

Dokdo, which lies closer to South Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, has long been a thorn in bilateral relations. South Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.


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