Seoul rejects Tokyo’s new claims

South Korea on Wednesday dismissed Japan’s protests against an opposition MP’s visit to Dokdo, the country’s easternmost islets, saying Tokyo should never have a territorial claim to the East Sea outcrops.

Japan expressed its displeasure after MP Hong Suk-joon of the main opposition People’s Power Party (PPP) visited Dokdo on Sunday for Liberation Day, marking the end of Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945).

A South Korean foreign ministry official said the government refuted Japan’s claims.

“Dokdo is clearly our inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law. We cannot accept any unreasonable demand or claim by Japan regarding our territorial sovereignty,” the official said.

“In line with our position, we have rejected Japan’s unreasonable request and allegations through diplomatic channels,” he added.

Dokdo has long been a recurring source of tension between the two neighbors, while Tokyo continues to claim sovereignty in its policy papers, public statements and textbooks.

South Korea has effectively controlled Dokdo, with a small police detachment, since its liberation from Japanese colonial rule.