Unresolved Dokdo/Takeshima Issue Continues to Stir Controversy
The Dokdo Islands (Korean), also known as Takeshima Islands (Japanese), is a group of two islands and about 90 islets and reefs in the Sea of Japan between Korea and Japan. When Korea became a colony of Japan in the early 20th Century, Japan assumed control. After World War II, when Japan returned Korea to the Korean people, these islands were not in the list of territories that Japan gave up. Both sides have historical claims to the islands, and this unresolved issue continues to harm South Korean-Japanese relations more than 60 years after the end of the war. South Koreans claim that, in a recent edition of a middle school teacher's guidebook, Japan claimed ownership of the islands, which are currently occupied by South Koreans. In response, the government of South Korea angrily recalled Ambassador Kwon Chul-hyun.
"We cannot accept it, strongly protest against the Japanese government and request for immediate corrective measures," said South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young, while some in the Japanese government are calling for both sides to calm in order to avoid the Korean-Japanese relations from worsening.
Aside from national pride, both sides seek official possession of the islands for the rich fishing grounds near by and the possible under-sea gas reserves.
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939