Sunday Aug 12, 201206:42 AM GMT
S Korea blasts Japan plan to take island dispute to ICJ
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visits a set of remote islands, called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, east of Seoul on Friday August 10, 2012.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visits a set of remote islands, called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, east of Seoul on Friday August 10, 2012.
Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:42AM
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A senior South Korean official says Seoul will not accept a plan by Japan to refer case of disputed islands in the Sea of Japan to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).


The unnamed diplomat made the remarks during a phone call with Seoul's Yonhap News Agency on Saturday after Tokyo said it is mulling over taking the matter to the ICJ.

On Friday, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made a surprise visit to the East Sea islets, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea.

The landmark trip, which made Lee the first South Korean head of state to travel to the islets, rich in mineral resources, raised Tokyo's anger.

Following the visit, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said Tokyo had recalled its ambassador to Seoul.

“…we passed the message to the Korean ambassador that we were given no choice but to take suitable measures against it,” Gemba said on Friday.

The islands lie roughly half way between the two countries and have been under the control of South Korea since the end of Japanese colonial rule after World War II.

South Korea controls the islands with a coastguard presence and plans to enhance maritime research in the area, also rich in marine life.

On Saturday, Gemba announced that Tokyo is planning to file a lawsuit with the ICJ to resolve the dispute with South Korea.

This is while Japan's plan to take the dispute to the court needs South Korea’s approval.

Seoul had previously rejected Tokyo’s similar plan in the 1950 and 1960s.

The Islands are said to have large deposits of natural gas and oil.

YH/HN
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