Tensions rise over island dispute between South Korea and Japan
Japan has warned South Korea that it will go to the International Court of Justice after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak made a surprise visit to the disputed islands this week.
The decade-long disputed territory, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, is located equidistance from both the nations. The island is a rich source of frozen natural gas deposits potentially worth billions of dollars.
Lee Myung-bak, due to retire later this year, visited the island on Friday – despite calls from Japanese officials to cancel the trip – and stated that South Korea “must continue to protect its territory”.
In Tokyo, the Japanese government’s chief spokesman, Osamu Fujimura described the President’s visit as “extremely regrettable” while Koichiro Gemba, Japan’s foreign minister, said the visit would have a big impact on bilateral ties.
A day later, Koichiro Gemba released a statement via email declaring that Japan was involving the Internal Court of Justice. His email read: “Japan decided to act to peacefully solve the issue by bring it to the International Court of Justice.
“Having seen Republic of Korea take such an unacceptable action, we believe that letting Japan’s case on Takeshima known to the world, through ICJ, is more important than holding back, giving consideration for the whole Japan-ROK relations.”