Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will hold a news conference on Friday to express his views on the territorial dispute over the Takeshima islets.
Noda wrote a letter to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak following Lee’s recent visit to the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan. They are called Dokdo in South Korea. The letter calls for a peaceful settlement of the territorial dispute in accordance with international law.
The South Korean government refused to accept the letter and returned it to Japan.
An official from the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo visited the Japanese Foreign Ministry on Thursday, but was denied entry. The South Korean government sent back the letter by mail later in the day.
The Japanese government says it cannot accept South Korea’s response to the territorial dispute.
In addition, Lee recently said that if Japan’s Emperor wishes to visit South Korea, he should offer a heartfelt apology to Koreans who died fighting for independence from Japan.
Noda told a Diet committee on Thursday that the comment lacks common sense.
Japanese authorities say they have not proposed to Korean officials that the Emperor visit the country. They plan to clarify South Korea’s stance through diplomatic channels.
At Friday’s news conference, Noda is also 1expected to speak about problems with China over the Senkaku island group in the East China Sea.
The Korean government is showing a stronger stance in dealing with the tensions mounting with Japan concerning recent events surrounding the Dokdo. The government’s renewed position was displayed clearly through a series of actions. On August 23, it decided to return a letter that was sent to President Lee Myung-bak by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFAT) will send an official diplomatic letter of protest in response to comments made the day before by Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba that Korea is “unlawfully occupying” Dokdo.
Tensions have grown since President Lee’s August 10 visit to Dokdo and his August 13 comment that ‘Japan no longer has the influence it used to have.’ The biggest blow came the following day through a comment asking Japanese Emperor Akhito to apologize for Japan’s past wrongdoings. For a while, it looked as if Seoul was easing up, saying that Korea may ease up on physical control of Dokdo.
The new posture comes in reaction to the aggression that the Japanese has shown in dealing with this issue, not to mention criticism by the Korean public pointing out the lack of a strategy to secure Korea’s rightful claim on Dokdo(Called Takeshima in Japan). The Korean government’s choice reflects the worry that this diplomatic friction could provide a pretext for Japan to turn Takeshima into an international dispute.
Read the rest of the story: South Korea returns Japanese Prime Minister’s letter on Dokdo.