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Japanese Vice Minister to Visit Korea

Posted April. 21, 2006 02:59,   


Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi will make a hurried visit to Korea on Friday to resolve the tension caused by the Japanese government’s plan to make a hydrological survey in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) near the Dokdo islets.

The Japanese press reported Thursday that Yachi will discuss the issue with First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yoo Myung-hwan, and that he is also planning to meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon.

The Japanese media announced that the Japanese government is reviewing whether it should put the survey on hold while diplomatic discussions take place. The Japanese government has postponed its hydrologic survey schedule, which was to take place on Thursday.

The Korean government is actively seeking diplomatic negotiations, but it also declared that it has drawn up a statement to the United Nations on Tuesday that denounces Japan’s behavior in case the country attempts to make an appeal to International Court of Justice regarding the issue.

In a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade headquarters with Shotaro Oshima, the Japanese ambassador to Seoul, Minister Ban is reported to have said that if Japan cancels its survey plans, the Korean government will move back plans to make a request to the Committee on Undersea Feature Names of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) on registering the undersea feature near Dokdo under a Korean name in June.

Chief Presidential Secretary for Unification, Foreign and Security Policy Song Min-soon, however, replied to Japan’s suggestion that it would cancel the survey if Korea withdraws the appeal to the U.N. for giving the region a Korea name by saying that Korea will not hold back its plans to present its case to the UN, and that the country is entitled to that right.

Meanwhile, the two Japanese maritime survey ships that left Sakaiminato Port in Tottori Prefecture have halted five kilometers away from the port for the second day in a row. Bad weather persists near the port with maximum wind velocities between 20 and 25 meters, and wave heights reaching six meters.

With the Japanese maritime survey ships anchored, the Korean Coast Guard has moved the patrol ships that weigh less than 1,000 tons previously stationed in the Dokdo area to Ulleung Island regions. Prior to this action, President Roh Moo-hyun said in a national breakfast prayer meeting held in COEX, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul that there are some Japanese who still claim their right over lands that were unrightfully taken by force.