S Korea warns "negative influence" over territorial dispute with Japan

15:36, December 24, 2009      

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South Korea on Thursday said Japan's projected move to describe long-disputed islets as its territory in its education guideline would mar ties between the two neighbors.

"(Japan's claim) would surely have a negative influence on South Korea-Japan relations," Moon Tae-young, a spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said at a press briefing.

"We have continuously notified Japan of our stance on the issue through various diplomatic channels. And our stance is that Dokdo is South Korea's territory, historically, geographically and according to international law," the spokesman said.

The remarks came as the South Korean government eyes Japan's plan to unveil its revised education handbook for high school teachers Friday, as Seoul suspects it might claim territorial sovereignty over the disputed islets, known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

But the content of the guideline has yet to be confirmed, Moon said.

The South Korean government plans to immediately issue a statement and hold a press briefing if the handbook turns out to contain description of the islets, local media have reported.

Territorial disputes over the lonely islets, lying halfway between the two countries, have continuously caused diplomatic ire in the two countries in the past.

In the latest row between the two sides, Seoul last year summoned its ambassador to Japan back to South Korea in a protest after Japan claimed territorial sovereignty over the rocky outcroppings in its education guidebook. 

Source: Xinhua
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