WASHINGTON, May 15 (Yonhap) -- The chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee said he believes from historical facts that the East Sea islets of Dokdo is South Korean territory, rejecting Japan's long-running claims to the islets.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) made the remark when he met with a group of South Korean lawmakers on Thursday, saying times around World War II were the most unstable period in about 200 years and it was during that period that Dokdo was annexed to Japan, according to participants.
The remark is in line with Seoul's position.
South Korea has rejected Japan's claims over Dokdo as nonsense because the country regained independence from colonial rule after the war and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul has been keeping a small police detachment on Dokdo since 1954.
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency, Royce also said in December that Dokdo is the right name to refer to the islets, stressing the importance of understanding "history and what abuses occurred."
Royce is considered one of the "pro-Korean" U.S. lawmakers and has led a series of measures related to South and North Korea.
Last month, he strongly criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for failing to offer a clear apology for the country's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean and other Asian women when he delivered an unprecedented address at a joint session of Congress.
In Thursday's meeting, Royce also urged Abe to face up to history, saying the Japanese leader has one more chance to offer an apology when he issues a statement in August to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, according to participants.
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