S Korean ambassador protests over Japan's claim of disputed islets

2008-07-15 08:15:39 GMT       2008-07-15 16:15:39 (Beijing Time)       xinhuanet

TOKYO, July 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korean Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul Hyun protested Tuesday morning over Japan's claim of ownership of two disputed islets during meeting with Japanese foreign ministry officials.

Kwon, who is scheduled to leave Japan later in the day at the South Korean government's recall in protest, met with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka for about 40 minutes at the Foreign Ministry.

As South Korea and Japan have decided to be forward-looking and are aimed at jointly building a "new era" for the bilateral relations, what was happening was inconceivable, the ambassador was quoted by Kyodo News as telling reporters after the meeting.

Kwon demanded that Japan take proper measures and warned Japan of "much loss" from the matter.

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Yabunaka reiterated that the pair of islets in the Sea of Japan are Japanese territory, however, he called for cooperation to deal with the differences.

The Japanese government announced on Monday its decision to describe the two disputed islets in the Sea of Japan, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, as Japan's territory in a teaching guideline for junior high school teachers and textbook publishers. The move immediately enraged South Korea.

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