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Friday, September 17, 2021

Factbox: Japan Threatens South Korea to Seize Dokdo Island

South Korean President Moon Jae-in didn’t attend the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and so he didn’t meet with the japanese prime minister.

The tension between Asian country and Japan on Dokdo Island within the East Sea appeared again during this process.

Tokyo claims this island to be an integral a component of Japan. On the choice side, DPRK also warns Japan to become careful about the Dokdo Island issue. President Moon Jae-in canceled his visit to Japan, bringing an end to speculation that 

the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would see a summit between the leaders of the 2 neighboring countries. Park Soo-Hyun, a senior press secretary of the Korean Presidency made the announcement, saying that the choice was made after considering various circumstances and wishing Japan a secure and successful Olympics.

Seoul and Tokyo had spent weeks arranging the Korean president’s visit to Tokyo for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics Games. Seoul has not unveiled specific reasons for its decision, but experts say that Seoul and Tokyo didn’t agree on an agenda for the summit .

A few days before Seoul’s announcement, South Korean local media reported that 

Soma Hirohisa, deputy chief of mission at the japanese Embassy in Seoul, had made a lewd comment against the Korean president during a gathering with a reporter. Soma Hirohisa has been accused of calling the Korean president’s diplomatic efforts to improve the bilateral relations between South Korea and Japan tantamount to “masturbation.” His comment wasn’t the official reason for the decision,

but it strengthened South Korean public opinion that the Korean president should not visit Tokyo under the circumstances. Japanese Prime Minister said Soma’s comment was “inappropriate” for a diplomat and called it “very regrettable” to reporters. Tokyo’s chief cabinet secretary, Kato Katsunobu, and Aiboshi Koichi, the japanese ambassador to Seoul, also called Soma’s comment inappropriate and regrettable. 

The South Korean government has said that both countries had discussed preparations for a summit during working-level  negotiations but failed to reach a constructive outcome. Ties between the countries have been strained by disputes over issues stemming from World War II and

therefore the period of Japanese colonial rule, including forced labor and the use of sex slaves, also as Tokyo’s recent decision to impose export restrictions.

Tokyo also recently refused to amend an Olympic torch relay map marking a cluster of disputed islets – mentioned as Dokdo in South Korea , which controls them, and Takeshima in Japan – as Japanese territory. South Korea is strongly opposed to this situation. Moreover, North Korea also reacted by calling it a shameless act.

Pyongyang announced that “The Japan sports world has reached the extremes in its shameless act designed to seize Dokdo Island, part of the inviolable territory of Korea, even in defiance of the sacred idea and spirit of the Olympic movement. Political issues are inseparable from territorial issues, and it’s a shameless and groundless sophism to insist that it’s just a geographical concept that a part of a part of Korea is marked as part of Japan.

” Seoul has also filed strong protests with Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee regarding Japan’s marking of Dokdo as its own territory, but both Tokyo and the Committee have done little to address the issue.

The rocky outcrop, referred to as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan, is considered by both countries a neighborhood of their own respective territories, and thus the dispute over them has been an ongoing spoiler in bilateral relations.

The Dokdo dispute isn’t a replacement phenomenon. Rather, the islands, which are located midway between Japan and South Korea, have served as a unbroken source of tension between the two countries’ governments and citizens since 1945.

This dispute is thus key to understanding the tense and hostile nature of Japan–South Korea relations. Japan annexed the islands from Korea in 1905 and went on to colonize Korea in its entirety in 1910.

During the following 35 years of Japanese rule, Koreans were forced to adopt Japanese names and speak Japanese. Pro-independence Koreans were executed and, during the Second World War, thousands of Korean men were compelled to work as laborers for Japan, while an outsized number of Korean women, euphemistically referred to as “comfort women,” were forced to function sex slaves for the japanese military.

In 1954, South Korea gained control of Dokdo Island and has since exercised de facto control over the planet . Successive right-wing and leftist Japanese governments have claimed that the islands are Japanese territory and have argued that South Korea’s control of the islands constitutes an “illegal occupation”.

In 2005, the Japanese prefecture of Shimane declared an annual “Takeshima Day”. Japan’s Foreign Ministry says on its website that Japan established sovereignty over the islands by the mid 17th Century, its sailors using it as a navigational port, docking point for ships, and rich fishing ground. It says it then incorporated the islands into modern-day Shimane prefecture in 1905.

It claims South Korea acted illegally by declaring them its territory in 1952 because they were not included within the territory to be returned under the San Francisco peace .

The website says, “The occupation of Takeshima by South Korea is an illegal occupation undertaken on no basis of law of nations .” On the opposite side, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry says, “Dokdo, the easternmost island in East Sea, is an integral a part of Korean territory historically, geographically, and under law of nations .

No territorial dispute exists regarding Dokdo, and Dokdo isn’t a interest be addressed through diplomacy or judicial settlement. The Government of the Republic of Korea exercises Korea’s irrefutable territorial sovereignty over Dokdo.

The Government will deal firmly and resolutely with any provocation and can still defend Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo.” The Dokdo dispute continues to strain intergovernmental relations between South Korea and Japan.

In 2008, Japan’s Ministry of Education issued a manual to Japanese textbook publishers and teachers encouraging them to instruct their students that the islands constitute Japanese territory. In response, South Korea’s government recalled its ambassador to Tokyo.

In 2012, when Lee Myung bak became the primary South Korean president to go to the islands, Japan responded by recalling its ambassador to Seoul.

From the South Korean perspective, the islands are a logo of pride and a marker of Korean independence from Japanese colonization. For some Koreans, Japan’s claim to the islands constitutes a denial of Japanese colonial rule over Korea, mitigating the very fact that the islands were Korean territory before Japan’s 1905 annexing.

In separate longstanding disputes, Japan also contests islands with China and Taiwan, each of which claims sovereignty over potentially resource-rich islands within the East China Sea. Japan refers to the gathering of uninhabited islands because the Senkaku Islands and China and Taiwan ask them because the Diaoyu Islands.

Similarly, Japan and Russia both claim sovereignty over islands that are known in Japan because the Northern Territories and in Russia because the Kurile Islands. These islands, which are Russian-controlled, hold particular significance for Japan as, unlike Dokdo, they’re inhabited by ethnic Japanese.

The fact that the Dokdo island is surrounded by natural resources, notably gas, alongside abundant fishing grounds, makes them important to the japanese and South Korean governments.

These islands also are crucial to Japan as any relinquishment of its territorial claim to Dokdo would likely weaken its claims to islands it disputes with China, Taiwan, and Russia. Consequently, US President Joe Biden’s administration has been pushing to bring the 2 Asian allies closer for stronger trilateral cooperation in the region to raised deal with nuclear-armed North Korea and a rising China.

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