(2nd LD) S. Korea ‘strongly’ protests Tokyo’s renewed claims to Dokdo, calls in Japanese diplomat

SEOUL, South Korea "strongly" protested against Japan on Tuesday after Tokyo issued an annual diplomatic report renewing its territorial claims to the South's easternmost islets of Dokdo. To lodge a formal protest over the report, South Korea's foreign ministry called in Taisuke Mibae, the deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. The claim, strongly disputed by South Korea, which has long maintained effective control of Dokdo with the permanent stationing of security personnel there, was included in the 2024 Diplomatic Bluebook that was reported to the Cabinet by Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa. In this year's report, Japan continued to claim that Dokdo is Japanese territory historically and under international law, and that South Korea is carrying on with an "illegal occupation" of the area. "The government strongly protests against the Japanese government's repeated unfair territorial claims over Dokdo, which is clearly our own territory historically, geographically and under internatio nal law, as announced in its Diplomatic Bluebook released on April 16, and urges (Japan) to withdraw it immediately," foreign ministry spokesperson Lim Soo-suk said in a commentary. Lim added that such claims by Japan have no impact whatsoever on South Korea's sovereignty over the islets, which are Korea's inherent territory. South Korea has long maintained the position that Dokdo is an integral part of Korean territory historically, geographically and under international law. Japan again took issue with the South Korean Supreme Court's ruling in 2018 that ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Koreans forced into wartime labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. Tokyo has long held the position that all reparation issues were settled in the 1965 treaty that normalized the bilateral diplomatic ties. Seeking to mend ties with Japan, South Korea announced the so-called third-party reimbursement plan in March last year to compensate the victims through the foundation without compensation from liab le Japanese firms. Japan has insisted the issue be resolved through the third-party system. On the bilateral ties, the bluebook referred to South Korea as a "partner" for the first time in 14 years, pointing out Seoul and Tokyo's close cooperation is needed now more than ever, given the grave security environment of the Indo-Pacific region. The Seoul ministry said Japan's use of the word "partner" appears to reflect its views on the improving bilateral ties. "We believe the descriptions of South Korea have improved partially compared with the previous year, including the inclusion of the expression 'partner' in defining our relations," Lim told a regular press briefing. "We hope the two countries will cooperate closely in establishing a future-oriented relationship ahead of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties next year," he said. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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