Seoul Decries Tokyo’s Claim to Dokdo Islets
By Na Jeong-ju
The presidential office expressed deep regret Tuesday over Japan's territorial claims to a set of South Korean islets in the East Sea, saying the provocative act is a result of its misunderstanding and distortion of historical facts.
"It is truly disappointing," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Sun-kyoo said, hours after Japan's Diet approved the government's diplomatic bluebook, an annual report on foreign policies and activities, which described Dokdo, called Takeshima in Japanese, as part of Japan's territory.
"Our position on the matter remains rock-solid. Japan must stop distorting facts and teach the truth. It is hampering the Korea-Japan relations."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also protested to the Japanese government over its territorial claims.
Chang Won-sam, director general for the ministry's Northeast Asian affairs, summoned Takahashi Reiichiro, the deputy chief of mission at the Japanese Embassy here, and delivered a "note verbale," an unsigned diplomatic note, criticizing the move.
"The incident came as many people from Korea and Japan are preparing to open a century of peace and friendship, marking the 100th anniversary of Japan's colonization of Korea in 1910," ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun told reporters.
"We want to make it clear again that Japan's move to ignore our sovereignty over Dokdo is not acceptable and will have serious consequences."
The diplomatic bluebook came a week after the Japanese education authorities approved five school textbooks that assert Dokdo belongs to Japan, sparking a wave of protests here. One of the books says the islets are "illegally occupied by Korea."
Last week, President Lee Myung-bak, during a meeting with ruling party lawmakers, urged foreign ministry officials to come up with measures to ensure Korea's continued control of Dokdo and counter Japan's claims.
Seoul has stationed a police contingent on the islets since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Japan has long laid claim to the rocky outcroppings since it first described them as its territory in its 1963 diplomatic bluebook. The country has sometimes omitted its claim over Dokdo from the yearly report when the issue marred relations with Korea.
The bluebooks issued from 1967 to 1970, 1988 to 1989, 1993 to 1996, 1998 to 1999, and in 2002 and 2007, did not include the claims.
한국 일본의 독도 영유권 비난
청와대는 화요일 독도에 대한 일본의 영유권 주장에 대해 역사적 사실에 대한 오해와 왜곡으로 도발적 행위라며 심대한 유감을 표시했다.
박선규 청와대 대변인은 일본 국회가 행정부의 외교청서를 승인한 수 시간 만에 “이는 매우 실망스런 일”이라고 밝혔다.
외교청서는 일본 정부의 외교정책 및 활동에 대한 연례보고서로 독도를 일본 영토의 일부라고 기술하고 있다.
“이 문제에 대한 우리의 입장은 단호하다. 일본은 역사적 사실 왜곡을 중단하고 진실을 가르쳐야 할 것이며 이는 한일 관계를 훼손시킬 것이다.”
외교통상부는 또한 영유권 주장과 관련 일본 정부에 항의했다.
장원삼 외교부 동북아주국 국장은 주한 일본 대사관의 레이치로 타카하시 부대사를 사무실로 불러 이 같은 조치를 비난하며 서명이 없는 친서인 “구상서”를 전달했다.