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Seoul slams Japan for Dokdo claim in new school textbooks

April 6, 2015
(Yonhap)

. In 2011, only 4 out of 18 total textbooks contained Tokyo’s claim that South Korea is illegally occupying Dokdo. This year, the number jumped to 13, representing the Abe administration’s attempt to bolster its efforts to lay claim to Dokdo. (Yonhap)

By Kim Soo-yeon

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) — South Korea strongly criticized Japan on Monday for intensifying its claim to Dokdo, a set of rocky islets in the East Sea, in new school textbooks, urging Tokyo to make sincere efforts to improve bilateral ties.

In a statement, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Tokyo’s move shows lack of its will to play a responsible role in the international community.

“Japan once again took a provocative step by approving middle school textbooks that distort unequivocal historical facts,” the ministry said.

It stressed South Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo is indisputable by history, geography and international law.

The statement came in response to the results of Tokyo’s regular review of textbooks for middle school students. In 2011, only 4 out of 18 total textbooks contained Tokyo’s claim that South Korea is illegally occupying Dokdo, where a small dispatch of Seoul’s police are stationed as a token of its ownership.

This year, the number jumped to 13, representing the Abe administration’s attempt to bolster its efforts to lay claim to Dokdo.

“We called on Japan to make efforts to improve the bilateral ties with sincerity based on spirits of apologies made by its previous administrations at a landmark year,” the Seoul ministry said.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong summoned Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Koro Bessho to deliver a protest message.

This year, the neighboring nations mark the 50th anniversary of normalizing one-on-one diplomatic ties after Japan’s brutal colonial rule of Korea from 1910-45.

Japan’s move Monday apparently threw cold water on burgeoning signs that Seoul and Tokyo are moving to mend fences especially on the regional security front.

To protest Japan’s move, meanwhile, Seoul’s foreign ministry said it has opened an updated website to promote Dokdo (http://dokdo.mofa.go.kr) in 11 languages, including Italian, Portuguese and Hindi.

On Tuesday, Japan also plans to unveil its 2015 diplomatic paper, named the Diplomatic Bluebook, which will reportedly repeat its claim to Dokdo, according to officials.

In last year’s report, Tokyo said the islets are “clearly an inherent territory of Japan,” in light of historical facts and based upon international law.

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