The foreign ministry strongly protested claims made by Japan over South Korea's easternmost Dokdo islets in its annual defense white paper, calling for an immediate retraction.
In a statement issued by spokesperson Choi Young-sam on Friday, the ministry accused Tokyo of repeating its unjust claims of sovereignty over the islets, which are South Korean territory historically, geographically, and by international law.
The spokesperson said that repeatedly making such claims is detrimental to efforts to build future-oriented bilateral relations.
Seoul also pledged to sternly respond to any type of provocation by Tokyo pertaining to the islets.
Meanwhile, the acting director-general for the ministry's Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau summoned Makoto Hayashi, the Japanese Embassy's minister for political affairs, to lodge a formal protest.
Earlier, Japan's Fumio Kishida Cabinet adopted the latest version of the paper, in which Tokyo laid claims over Dokdo for the 18th consecutive year.
Japan has renewed claims to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo in the East Sea for the 18th year in its 2022 defense white paper.
The Japanese government adopted the paper that included such assertions during a Cabinet meeting on Friday.
The paper stipulated that territorial issues remain unresolved over the Kuril Islands and Takeshima, the Japanese name for Dokdo, and included a map marking the South Korean islets as Japanese territory.
Unlike previous years, the paper said South Korea-Japan cooperation is becoming increasingly important as the security climate surrounding the two countries aggravates and becomes more complex.
Still, the paper once again called on Seoul to take appropriate measures so that bilateral cooperation and three-way cooperation with the U.S. will not be harmed by what it called the South Korean authorities' “negative measures.”
Among such moves, Tokyo cited the South Korean Navy’s drills held around the Dokdo islets and Seoul’s indefinite suspension of an intelligence-sharing pact known as the General Security of Military Information Agreement, or GSOMIA.
The South Korean government belatedly revealed that Japan had protested a footage of a South Korean fighter jet flying over the Dokdo islets shown during President Yoon Suk Yeol's inauguration ceremony in May.
Seoul's foreign ministry issued a statement Thursday calling Tokyo's protest unwarranted and reiterated that Dokdo belongs to Korea historically, geographically and under international law.
It said that Japan's unjust claims on Korea's territorial sovereignty are unacceptable.
The ministry stressed it will sternly respond to any provocations by Japan related to Dokdo.
Japan reportedly filed a protest through diplomatic channels including its embassy in Seoul in response to the video shown during President Yoon's inauguration ceremony.
The Tokyo government has protested South Korea's plan to conduct a detailed topographic survey of the Dokdo islets.
According to Japan's Sankei News, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno in a Wednesday press conference said that he asked Seoul to suspend its planned survey via diplomatic channels.
He also said he made the same request to the incoming President-elect Yoon Suk Yeol's delegation currently visiting Japan. The delegation, however, said that they have not received any complaints related to the islets.
Meanwhile, Seoul's foreign ministry said the unreasonable claims were dismissed through diplomatic channels and emphasized that the Dokdo islets are clearly South Korea's sovereign land historically, geographically and under international law.
The government strongly protested Japan's latest ownership claim over South Korea's easternmost Dokdo islets in its annual diplomatic paper.
In a statement on Friday, foreign ministry spokesperson Choi Young-sam urged Tokyo to immediately withdraw the false claims, as the islets are South Korean territory historically, geographically and by international law.
The spokesperson said the government will respond assertively to any form of Japanese provocation regarding Dokdo, urging the neighboring country to realize that its actions are detrimental to the establishment of future-oriented bilateral ties.
The director general of the ministry's Asia and Pacific affairs department also summoned the deputy chief from the Japanese Embassy to lodge a formal complaint.
In its first Diplomatic Bluebook under the Fumio Kishida administration, Tokyo repeated its previous assertion that Dokdo belongs to the country.
Japan's foreign ministry has been found to be using the Korean language homepage address for the Dokdo islets as part of its territorial campaign.
Typing in the URL "dokdo.com" with the islets' name spelled in Korean alphabet connects to a Japanese foreign ministry website that lays claims to Dokdo, called Takeshima in Japan.
The webpage shows a statement titled "Japan's consistent stance on Takeshima" which proceeds to argue that Dokdo belongs to Japan but is illegally occupied by South Korea.
The page also contains various materials promoting the territorial claim in 12 different languages.
In response to a KBS inquiry as to the length of time and reason for using the Korean language homepage address, the Japanese ministry denied having any involvement regarding the matter.
The Japanese Embassy in Seoul has refused to accept President Moon Jae-in's Lunar New Year gift, taking issue with the image of the Dokdo islets on the gift box.
Speaking to KBS on the phone on Saturday, an embassy official said it returned the gift President Moon sent to Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi after confirming that it bears an image that appears to be Dokdo.
The official said that in returning the gift, Japan voiced protested and conveyed its territorial stance on the islets.
The presidential office had sent gift boxes containing traditional liquor and chestnuts to foreign ambassadors stationed in the country ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Illustrations on such holiday gifts change every year and this year's image of a Dokdo sunrise, the first sunrise that takes place in the country, is believed to represent South Korea's commitment to overcome the pandemic.
A presidential official told KBS the office can't confirm whether the gift has been returned and it has no particular statement to give on the issue.
A foreign ministry official reiterated that Dokdo is Korean territory historically, geographically and under international law.
Japan has reportedly protested against a regular military exercise by South Korea near the Dokdo islets.
According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, the Japanese foreign ministry announced on Wednesday that it lodged a strong protest with Seoul, calling it unacceptable and extremely regrettable.
Last week, South Korea conducted a closed-door military exercise aimed at defending East Sea territories near the Doko islets, mobilizing Navy and Coast Guard vessels and Air Force assets.
The military and Coast Guard have carried out the Dokdo defense drills since 1986. From 2003, they've been held twice a year. Japan has strongly protested the drills when they’ve occurred.
Japan's Kyodo News said the South Korean defense ministry has withheld information regarding the drills, apparently to avoid heightening tensions with Japan, which regards the islets as part of its territory and calls them Takeshima.
The military is believed to have conducted its regular defense drill on the Dokdo islets last week, the second such exercise this year.
According to an informed source on Wednesday, Navy and Coast Guard vessels and Air Force assets took part in the closed-door exercise held in waters near Dokdo aimed at defending East Sea territories.
The exercise focused on maritime and non-contact training in consideration of the pandemic. Landing drills did not take place.
The military and Coast Guard have carried out the Dokdo defense drills since 1986. From 2003, they've been held twice a year.
Japan has strongly protested whenever the drills occurred.
The National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage has opened an exhibition on the Dokdo islets to mark Dokdo Day on October 25th.
The exhibit focusing on Dokdo's natural reserves is located at the National Heritage Center in Daejeon and will run through the end of the year. It is divided into three sections: the past, present and future.
The "past" section contains 16 ancient maps, including nine that mark Dokdo as Korean territory and seven others that indicate the East Sea.
The section on "present" day Dokdo showcases stuffed specimens of ten designated natural monuments such as the black wood pigeon and sparrow hawk, as well as paintings on indigenous flora and fauna.
The "future" section includes photos and videos related to Dokdo such as aerial footage of the islets.
A maximum of seven spectators will be allowed in at one time. A view of the exhibition will also be provided online on the institute and center's websites.