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Japan slammed for official's visit to disputed islets

( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-02-23 07:07:43

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea on Wednesday slammed Japan for sending a senior government official to an annual ceremony, which is aimed at claiming a pair of disputed islets, called Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima in Japan.

The ROK Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it strongly protests against Japan for its unjust claims to Dokdo islets by dispatching a senior government official to the Takeshima Day ceremony.

The statement urged Japan to immediately stop such events and squarely face up to history, saying Dokdo is an inherent territory of the ROK historically and geographically under international laws.

Seoul has effectively taken control of the rugged islets, composed mainly of volcanic rocks, since 1954. The rocky outcroppings were incorporated into Japan during its 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula, but the control of the islets was restored by the ROK following its liberation from the colonial rule.

Japan's Shimane prefecture designated Feb 22 as Takeshima Day in 2005, and has, since 2006, held an event to mark the day annually.

The Japanese government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has sent a senior Cabinet member to the ceremony since 2013. For this year's celebration, Shunsuke Mutai, parliamentary vice-minister of the Cabinet Office, attended it as a government representative.

Seoul has seen such acts as Japan's reluctance to acknowledge its wartime aggression.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry summoned a minister at the Japanese embassy to protest against the dispatch of a senior official to the controversial ceremony.

The diplomatic friction came at a time of frayed ties between the two countries over the so-called "statue of a girl" that symbolizes comfort women victims, a euphemism for Korean women who were lured or forced into Japanese military brothels as sex slaves before and during World War II.

Xinhua

(China Daily 02/23/2017 page12)

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