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S. Korea rebukes Japan`s territorial claim over Dokdo islets

S. Korea rebukes Japan`s territorial claim over Dokdo islets

Posted January. 22, 2015 06:57,   


The Japanese government has created a diplomatic stir by sending a Korean-language version of the summary of its 2014 defense white paper depicting Seoul`s easternmost islets of Dokdo as Japanese territory. The South Korean military called the claim a provocation of Seoul`s territorial rights, lodging a strong protest against Japan and starting to draw up countermeasures.

According to the South Korean military, the naval attaché at the Japanese embassy in Seoul visited South Korea`s Ministry of National Defense to hand over 50 copies of the Korean-language summary of Japan`s 2014 defense white paper. Tokyo has laid its territorial claim to Dokdo in its defense report for the past 10 years, but this was the first time that Japan delivered a summary of its defense white paper containing the claim to Seoul`s defense ministry. The ministry confirmed that Japan`s defense ministry also delivered copies of the same summary to the South Korean embassy in Tokyo.

However, critics raise issue with the fact that the South Korean defense ministry took over the summary that claims Dokdo as Japanese territory. The ministry said its intelligence headquarters passed on the copies to the ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggesting that the military authorities failed to check the content before accepting it.

"It seems that the official at the intelligence headquarters who first received the copies failed to grasp the sensitivity of the issue," a military official in Seoul said.

The ministry is also under fire for not having returned the documents until a week after receiving them. The ministry said it summoned the military attaché from the Japanese embassy in Seoul earlier on the day to protest Japan`s claim and return all the 50 copies of the summary. Although a ministry official, who is a brigadier general, seriously warned that Seoul would not tolerate any territorial provocation on Dokdo, the reaction came very late.

The South Korean military plans to print and distribute Japanese-language version of its 2014 defense white paper that reaffirms Seoul`s territorial rights over the islets.