Seoul to recall envoy over Japan’s claim to islets

July 14th, 2008 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, July 14 (DPA) South Korea said Monday that it would recall its ambassador to Japan in protest against its renewed claims on a group of South Korean-administered islets in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea. Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan also planned to summon Japan’s ambassador to protest new guidelines for Japanese schools that describe the islets, known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, as part of Japanese territory, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Seoul said.

Japan and South Korea have long disputed the ownership of the islands 700 km west of Tokyo and 450 km southeast of Seoul.

They have a total area of 187,450 square metres and are rich fishing grounds. It is also believed there may be gas in the area.

Japan’s Education Ministry Monday released the supplementary instructions for teachers of junior high schools, which emphasize the importance of explaining Japan’s territory to students and the need to recognize the nation’s efforts to protect it.

Currently, one of six geography textbooks and three of eight social studies texts for junior high schools mention the islets.

Yu expressed his deep regret for the Japanese actions, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said. South Korean President Lee Myung Bak was also said to be disappointed.

The South Korean government could “never tolerate this and calls on the Japanese government to stop these attempts,” a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Seoul said.

It was unclear when the South Korean ambassador would return to Tokyo.

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