SEOUL, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministry called in a Japanese diplomat in Seoul on Monday to lodge a protest over Japan's renewed claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.
The ministry expressed regrets to Hirohisa Soma, a senior official at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, shortly after the Japanese prefecture of Shimane held an annual event to publicize Japan's claim to the rocky outcroppings in the East Sea.
The latest flare-up of tensions came as Seoul seeks to mend ties with Tokyo, frayed over wartime history and trade, amid Washington's push to bring its allies closer together to address shared challenges, such as lingering North Korean threats.
Dokdo has long been a recurring source of tension between the two neighbors, as Tokyo continues to lay claim to the islets in its policy papers, public statements and school textbooks.
South Korea has been in effective control of Dokdo, with a small police detachment, since its liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
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