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S. Korea condemns Japan's repeated territorial claims to rocky islets

Xinhua, April 25, 2017 Adjust font size:

South Korea on Tuesday condemned Japan's repeated territorial claims to a pair of its rocky islets, known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, after the announcement of Japan's diplomatic paper.

The 2017 diplomatic blue paper, released earlier in the day, reiterated Japan's territorial claims to the set of islets lying halfway between South Korea and Japan.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that South Korea strongly denounces Japan's unfair territorial claims to the Dokdo islets, which are clearly the country's indigenous territory historically, geographically and under international laws.

The statement urged Japan to immediately drop the claims, saying Japan's reflection on history would be the starting point and the necessary conditions to establish South Korea-Japan relations.

The South Korean ministry called in a high-level diplomat from the Japanese embassy to protest against the diplomatic paper.

The rocky outcroppings were integrated into the Japanese territory when the Imperial Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

Since the peninsula's liberation from the Japanese colonial rule in 1945, the islets were returned back to South Korea.

South Koreans see Japan's territorial claims to the islets as a sign that the former colonial ruler still fails to repent for its past atrocities committed during the colonization.

Meanwhile, the Japanese document expressed deep displeasure over a so-called "girl statue," set up outside Japanese consulate in South Korea's southern port city of Busan to symbolize the comfort women victims.

The comfort women are a euphemism for Chinese and Korean victims who were forced into sexual enslavement for Japanese military brothels before and during WWII.

The girl statue was erected by South Korean civic group activists late last year to mark the first anniversary of the Dec. 28 agreement between South Korea and Japan about the compensation on comfort women victims.

Most of the victims rejected the compensation, saying Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had yet to sincerely apologize for and repent over the wartime crime against humanity committed during the devastating war.

All of the five major South Korean presidential candidates pledged to reverse the agreement. The presidential by-election is scheduled for May 9. Endit