Members of S.Korean Marine Corps take part in a military exercise in remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, South Korea. File photo/ Reuters
A group of South Korean lawmakers visited islands disputed with Japan, sparking a protest from the Japanese foreign ministry as the countries' already tense relationship deteriorates further.
Six Korean lawmakers on Saturday flew to the islets, known as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan, in part to protest Japanese curbs on shipments of essential components for making smartphone chips, South Korea's chief export.
“Regardless of the South Korean government's efforts, Japan has not only dropped South Korea from the “white list,” but also, it is claiming Dokdo as part of its territory, worsening the South Korea-Japan relations,” said Sul Hoon, a ruling Democratic Party lawmaker.
Japan's foreign ministry has lodged a “stern” protest over the visit. In its statement, the ministry said the Korean lawmakers had ignored Japan's previous demand that the plan be scrapped, and called the visit “extremely regrettable.”
The islands are Japan's inherent territory in terms of both history and international law, the ministry said.
Relations between South Korea and Japan are at the lowest in years after a row over compensation for wartime forced labourers during Japan's occupation of Korea until end of World War Two. Ties soured further when Japan removed South Korea from a “white list” of countries with fast-track export status, and Korea followed by scrapping a military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.
South Korea plans to file a complaint over Japan’s tighter export controls at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday, accusing Tokyo of being “politically motivated” and “discriminatory” in an escalating row rooted in wartime history.
Japan is bolstering its defence of a group of East China Sea islets disputed with China and other far-flung isles, with the establishment of a special police unit armed
South Korea summoned Japan’s ambassador to protest a decision to remove Seoul’s fast-track export status, which took effect on Wednesday amid a deepening political and economic feud.
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The authorities said that after the issuance of the visit visa, the tourist must enter the country within 60 days from the date of issuance, and the validity of the entry permit will be 30 days or 60 days, depending on the visa sought.