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Korea-Japan Relations Worsening Further

16:58 January 18, 2017 replay time01:58

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From early on in the New Year, Korea-Japan relations continue to worsen.

The issue of the comfort woman statue in Busan, which seemed to be winding down, has now expanded to the sovereignty dispute over Dokdo.

Lee Jun-sam has more.


The Korean government immediately criticized the words of Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida Fumio who said Dokdo is Japan’s inherent territory.

<Cho Jun-hyuk / Spokesperson for Ministry of Foreign Affairs> “The government cannot help but deplore Japan making yet another unjustified claim. We call for the Japanese government to immediately withdraw their useless claims on Dokdo, which is clearly an integral part of Korea."

The Ministry also summoned a minister from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to protest.

Some diplomats believe that, as the Dokdo conflict has broken out even before the Busan statue issue properly ended, an escalation of tensions has become more likely.

Late last month, the conflict between the two countries intensified over the installation of a comfort woman statue in front of the Japanese Consulate, and was winding down from late last week.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoon Byeong-se has said publicly that he will try to resolve the Busan statue issue, and Japan signified that Japanese Ambassador to Korea, Nagamine Yasumama, who was summoned back to Japan, will return to Korea this week.

However, along with the false claims over Dokdo by high-level officials in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the conflict between Korea and Japan is now expanding to the ever more sensitive issue of sovereignty over Dokdo.

The remarks by Minister Kishida were a response to the move by members of the Gyeonggi Province assembly to install the comfort woman statue in Dokdo. Japan has hinted at additional measures if the statue is actually installed.

Japan is expected to use the so-called Takeshima Day, taking place on Feb. 22, as an opportunity to heighten their voice to claim sovereignty over Dokdo.

In particular, criticisms against the Korea-Japan agreement on comfort women are spreading in Korean politics, so many expect that it will not be easy for either side to find a way out of the conflict soon.

Lee Jun-sam reporting for Yonhap News TV.

Yonhap News TV: 02-398-4441 (Inquiry on article) 4409 (Report), KakaoTalk/LINE jebo23

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