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S. Korea calls on Japan to stop repeating territorial claims over Dokdo

All News 18:53 January 20, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea denounced Japan on Friday for repeating its territorial claims over the country's easternmost islets of Dokdo, urging Tokyo to stop such unjustifiable provocations immediately.

The move comes after Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said in his foreign policy address to the Diet that his country will "tenaciously" address what he sees as a row over Dokdo.

"We cannot but deplore Japan's repeated and unjustifiable claims over Dokdo," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman of South Korea's foreign ministry, said in a comment.

"The Japanese government should immediately stop making such useless claims over what is evidently our territory from both a historic and geographical perspective as well as in the eyes of international law," he added.

The official stressed again that Tokyo should keep in mind that the correct recognition of history is the foundation of South Korea-Japan relations.

Dokdo, which lies in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, has been a major source of diplomatic friction between the two neighbors. South Korea has kept a small police detachment there since 1954 and has made it clear that Tokyo's claims over the territory are groundless.

This marks the fourth time that Japan has made the claim this year. Earlier this week, Kishida told reporters that the islets belong to Japan after being questioned about a push by the assembly of a South Korean province to erect a girl statue on the islets symbolizing Japan's wartime sexual slavery.

Tokyo's territorial provocations came in addition to deepening diplomatic woes over a recently erected girl statue in front of the Japanese consulate in the southern port city of Busan.

Japan has demanded the statue be removed immediately, calling on Seoul to faithfully carry out what was agreed upon in 2015. In protest, Tokyo recalled its ambassador to Seoul early last week. He has not returned to his post.

Under a deal reached in late 2015, Tokyo expressed an apology and agreed to provide 1 billion yen (US$8.7 million) for a foundation aimed at supporting the surviving victims of Japan's sexual slavery during World War II.

It has claimed that removing the statue standing in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul is part of the deal and that installing yet another is a violation of the agreement.

Seoul has promised to make efforts to resolve the statue issue in an appropriate manner but noted that it doesn't have any authority to force their removal as they were built by civic groups.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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