SEOUL, May 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea expressed strong protest Tuesday against Japan over its repeated territorial claims to Dokdo islets, called Takeshima in Japan, lying halfway between the two countries.
Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement that South Korea strongly protests against the Japanese government claiming its illegitimate sovereignty over Dokdo islet through its annual diplomatic report called Diplomatic Blue Paper.
The statement urged Japan to immediately drop its territorial claims to Dokdo islets that is an indigenous territory of South Korea historically, geographically and by international law.
The ministry said South Korea makes it clear once again that the unjust claims by the Japanese government cannot affect South Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo in any way, noting that South Korea will sternly deal with any provocation against the islets.
South Korea restored its sovereignty over the Dokdo islets after the Korean Peninsula's liberation from the 1910-45 Japanese colonization. Seoul has since maintained a small police detachment on the islets.
South Koreans see Japan's territorial claim to Dokdo as its denial of the colonial history as the islets was the very first territory that was forcibly occupied by the Imperial Japan.