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Japan proposes to S. Korea to take isles dispute to international court

(Xinhua)

13:18, August 17, 2012

TOKYO, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government officially proposed to South Korea to jointly take the isles dispute over the sparsely inhabited islands to the International Court of Justice ( ICJ), announced Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Friday.

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak landed on disputed islets, Takeshima in Japan or Dokdo in South Korea, despite calls from Japan to cancel the trip last week. Japanese Ambassador to South Korea Masatoshi Muto was temporarily recalled on the same day shortly after Lee's trip.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said earlier that "We must respond firmly to territorial issues," and decided to propose to South Korea to take the issue to the ICJ.

A South Korean foreign ministry official responded on Friday that South Korea won't accept Japan's proposal to make the isles issue an international dispute, because "Dokdo is clearly our territory."

Both South Korea and Japan claim sovereignty over the lonely islets, lying halfway between the two countries. South Korea has controlled the islets since 1950s.
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