S. Korea issue statement denouncing Japan’s defense white paper claims to Dokdo

Posted on : 2020-07-15 17:57 KST Modified on : 2020-07-15 17:57 KST
Senior diplomat summoned to Foreign Ministry
Hirohisa Soma, minister of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, is summoned to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 14. (Yonhap News)
Hirohisa Soma, minister of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, is summoned to the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 14. (Yonhap News)

The South Korean government issued a statement criticizing the Japanese government’s “Defense of Japan 2020”, describing its claims that Dokdo is Japanese territory as “unjust and preposterous claims” that is “not at all helpful to South Korea-Japan relations.” The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of National Defense (MND) respectively summoned a minister and military attaché from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul to protest and urge the “immediate withdrawal” of the claims of ownership over Dokdo.

On July 14, a MOFA spokesperson issued a statement in response to the Japanese defense white paper released the same day.

“The government of the Republic of Korea (ROK) strongly protests against the Japanese government’s reiteration of unjust territorial claims over Dokdo, clearly an integral part of the ROK’s territory in terms of history, geography and international law, in the “Defense of Japan 2020” released on July 14, and calls for an immediate withdrawal of such claims.,” the statement said.

In the statement, MOFA stressed that the Japanese government “should be aware that reiterating unjust and preposterous claims over Dokdo is in no way conducive to the ROK-Japan relationship.”

“The ROK government makes clear once again that the Japanese government’s unjust claims do not have any impact on the ROK’s sovereignty over Dokdo, an integral part of the ROK’s territory, and that it will respond sternly to any provocation over Dokdo.”

The same morning, Kim Jung-han, MOFA’s director-general for Asian and Pacific affairs, summoned Hirohisa Soma, a senior diplomat at the Japanese Embassy, to MOFA to strongly protest the content of Japan’s defense white paper.

The MND also summoned a Japanese military attaché to communicate a message of protest.

“Director General of International Policy Lee Won-ik summoned Japan Air Self-Defense Force Col. Takashi Matsumoto, a Japanese military attaché in South Korea, at 2 pm today to protest the unilateral claims made by Japan in this year’s defense white paper (namely, its content regarding Dokdo, the firing of radar, and the termination of the South Korea-Japan General Security of Military Information Agreement),” the ministry explained.

“We strongly urged it to take immediate corrective action and to stop engaging in such activities going forward,” it added.

During Lee’s message of protest to the Japanese military attaché, the MND reportedly said that Japan’s white paper “reiterated the baseless, unilateral claim that a South Korean warship fired its radar at a Japanese patrol aircraft.”

“We are deeply dismayed by [Japan] continuing to wrongfully assign responsibility to [South Korea] for Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force warships boycotting the 2018 international naval review, and we strongly urge corrective action,” it was also quoted as saying. It went on to communicate that South Korea would “respond sternly to any provocations that attempt to infringe upon its dominium over Dokdo.”

The MND also “emphasized that the [South Korean] government had made the decision and provided notification regarding the suspension of the GSOMIA termination in an effort to preemptively resolve issues between the two sides.”

“We strongly urge the Japanese government to make sincere efforts to restore the relationship of trust between our two countries,” it was quoted as saying.

By Noh Ji-won, staff reporter

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