South Korea protests against Japan’s renewed territorial claims to islets

South Korea lodged a strong protest on Tuesday against Japan’s renewed territorial claims to the Dokdo islets, called Takeshima by Japan lying halfway between the two countries.

The Seoul foreign ministry said in a statement that the government strongly protests against Japan over its repeated futile claims to Dokdo, which is “explicitly our inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law,” through the diplomatic blue book, the Xinhua news agency reported.

It gravely urged Tokyo to immediately retract the claims, saying South Korea will sternly deal with any provocation of Japan against the country’s easternmost islets.

The ministry summoned Hirohisa Soma, Deputy Chief of mission at the Japanese embassy in Seoul, to protest against Japan’s annual foreign policy paper, according to local media.

Since 2005, Japan has laid territorial claims to the rocky outcroppings every year in its diplomatic blue and defence white papers.

South Korea restored its sovereignty over Dokdo after the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from the 1910-45 Japanese colonisation. Seoul has since been in effective control of the islets, with a small police detachment deployed.

South Koreans see Japan’s territorial claims to the islets as its denial of the colonial history as Dokdo was the very first territory that was forcibly occupied by Japan.