In two separate articles days after the release of the Japanese 2011 defence white paper report, condemning claims made in the report about China and South Korea.
The set of rocky outcroppings lying halfway between the two countries has been a source of recurring diplomatic row, as Japan repeatedly lays claim to the South Korean-controlled East Sea islets.
Three conservative Japanese lawmakers visited South Korea Monday in a trip seen here as an attempt to boost their claim to the disputed islands. South Korea banned their entry and sent them back to Japan on the same day.
Japan also expressed concern on Tuesday over the Chinese military’s recent maritime activities in its annual defense report, a week after Beijing officially announced its aircraft carrier program.
Japan endorsed its 2011 defense white paper, in which it called the islets, known as Dokdo here and Takeshima in Japan, as its territory.”We strongly protest the move and demand the Japanese government immediately retract it,” the defense ministry in Seoul said in a statement, calling Tokyo’s latest territorial claim ” very regrettable.”
“Given the modernisation of China’s naval and air forces in recent years, its sphere of influence is likely to grow beyond its neighboring waters,” the annual white paper said.
The report, approved by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s Cabinet, described China’s stance in its maritime territorial disputes with its neighbors as “assertive”.
“This is one way of expressing our hope that China will address these issues through friendly relations,” Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa told reporters.