S. Korean opposition party leader visits disputed Takeshima Islands


The head of South Korea’s major opposition party has visited a pair of islets in the Sea of Japan that are claimed by Tokyo ahead Thursday’s anniversary of the liberation of the Korean Peninsula from Japanese colonial rule.

The visit Tuesday by Kim Han-gil, head of the Democratic Party, to the islets, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea, was an apparent move to display Seoul’s jurisdiction of the islands.

Accompanied by party members, Kim sang South Korea’s national anthem after landing on the islets, according to the party. Kim said the isles are South Korean territory that any South Korean citizen can visit them at any time.

Kim also accused Japan of tilting to the right recently and showing signs of resurrecting militarism. This cannot be condoned, Kim said, criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s move to change the interpretation of the Constitution to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The move means that Japan is spiritually declaring itself hostile to the feelings of its Asian neighbors, who suffered under its past invasions, Kim said.

Abe’s government had asked the party to cancel Kim’s visit through its embassy in Seoul. Tokyo has also called for a visit to the islands by members of the ruling Saenuri Party, slated for later Wednesday, to be canceled.

In Tokyo, Makita Shimokawa, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, summoned a minister from the South Korean Embassy to lodge a complaint over the visit by the Democratic Party members.

The incident is extremely regrettable and unacceptable in light of Japan’s sovereignty claim to the islets, Shimokawa told the minister.

  • Murasaki

    Time Japan takes the matter to the world court and if that fails, after Act 9 is removed, then take the islands back by force.

  • Kyle

    Japan needs to focus on the Kuril Islands, not Dokdo/Takeshima. Dokdo is Korea territory, confirmed by numerous Korean and Japanese historical documents. Korea would go to war for these rocks, and the US will not support Japan’s claim. Hopefully, Japan will negotiate a final decision with Russia on the Kuril Islands. These are Japanese, but if Japan at least gets half, they need to take it. Russia will never budge.

  • Paldo

    Seems both sides want to poke the eyes of the other by patriotism. Also, the Kuril Islands are lost, period! If every country wants to claim back the land lost due to wars, it will be never ending! Jp lost the islands after the war of aggression was lost, can’t blame anybody but yourselves.

  • frogmouth

    Murasaki. How could you make such a foolish statement?
    I’ve heard that if Japan tried to seize Takeshima, the ROK would seize Tsushima. Japan wouldn’t stand chance of beating ROK in a land battle on Tsushima.
    Two rocks for Tsushima? Korea might love an excuse to do exactly that.