Japan, S. Korea mulling 1st summit since island row

2012-11-12 00:04:25 GMT2012-11-12 08:04:25(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Japan and South Korea are arranging a formal summit later this month, the first such meeting since a rekindled territorial dispute worsened bilateral ties in August, Japanese government sources said Saturday.

Both governments are working on realizing the talks between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and President Lee Myung Bak in a bid to improve relations that have soured since Lee visited a pair of South Korean-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan on Aug. 10, becoming the first South Korean president to visit them, the sources said.

Japan claims the islets as part of Shimane Prefecture and calls them Takeshima. In South Korea they are known as Dokdo. The isles are located in a rich fishing ground in the Sea of Japan, about 157 kilometers northwest of Japan's Oki islands in Shimane and roughly 90 km southeast of South Korea's Ulleungdo Island.

S. Korea increases Dokdo budget to bolster global PR campaign 

South Korea's parliament approved a sharply increased budget to be used to guard against Japan's claims over South Korea's easternmost islets, Yonhap reported.

The decision came as diplomatic tensions with Japan remain high following Tokyo's reinforced actions to lay claim to Dokdo, which lies closer to South Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the National Assembly's committee for foreign affairs gave the green light to setting aside a budget of 6.22 billion won (US$5.72 million) for 2013 to bolster a global public relations campaign about the rocky islets.

The approved budget amount is 2 billion won more than what the foreign ministry had proposed for 2013, and about three times more than the 2.32 billion won earmarked for this year.

The Dokdo budget needs final approval from the parliament's budget committee as well as the plenary session.

The lawmakers recommended that the government build better foreign-language Web sites for Dokdo and strengthen its network with foreign experts on international law, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

After being first adopted in 2003, the country set aside only 250 million won the first year and steadily increased the budget to 2.37 billion won last year.

Relations have frayed between Seoul and Tokyo following an unprecedented visit to Dokdo in August by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who cited Tokyo's unrepentant attitude over its brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula as a key reason for his trip.

Dokdo has long been a thorn in relations between the two countries. South Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets.

Editor: Mei Jingya
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