This July 14, 2008 aerial picture shows the Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan, in the East Sea (the Sea of Japan). (PHOTO / KOREA POOL REPUBLIC OF KOREA OUT / AFP)
SEOUL - South Korea issued a strong protest on Tuesday against Japan's renewed territorial claims to the Dokdo islets, which is called Takeshima by Japan and lies halfway between the two countries.
Seoul urged Tokyo to immediately retract the claims, saying its unjust and absurd claims will be of no help for the relations between South Korea and Japan
The Seoul foreign ministry said in a statement that the government strongly protested against Japan over its repeated unjust territorial claims on Dokdo that is "clearly our inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law."
It urged Japan to immediately retract the claims, saying its unjust and absurd claims will be of no help for the relations between South Korea and Japan.
The statement made it clear that Japan's unjust claims would not affect South Korea's sovereignty over the Dokdo islets, vowing to sternly deal with any provocation against the easternmost islets of South Korea.
It came after a defense white paper approved by Japan's cabinet earlier in the day described the Dokdo issue as a matter that remains unresolved.
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Since 2005, Japan has laid territorial claims to the islets every year in its diplomatic blue and defense white papers.
South Korea restored its sovereignty over Dokdo after the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japaense colonization that lasted from 1910 to 1945. Seoul has since maintained a small police detachment on the rocky outcroppings.
South Koreans see Japan's sovereignty claims on the islets as its denial of colonial history as Dokdo was the very first territory that was forcibly occupied by Japan.
HONG KONG NEWS