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Japan Escalates Island Argument with South Korea

Known as Dokdo in Korean, Takeshima in Japanese, and Liancourt Rocks to the rest of us, a few small islets are the focus of an escalating fight between Japan and South Korea. WSJ:

Japan’s foreign minister ratcheted up pressure on South Korea with tough rhetoric and hints of further countermeasures, after Seoul Thursday formally rejected Tokyo’s request to turn to an international court to settle their island dispute that has stoked bilateral territorial tensions to the highest level in decades.

Koichiro Gemba, Japan’s foreign minister, also threatened to indoctrinate young Japanese students with more forceful imagery on Japan’s claim to various disputed islands.

South Korea has occupied the islands for decades with no permission from Japan or the international community. Seoul is unwilling to give up its claim to the islands even in the face of escalating anger from Tokyo.

Island disputes have become more intense in recent months. We’re used to reading about China fighting with its neighbors over claims to island chains in the South China Sea, but territorial disputes are also brewing in the East China Sea involving Japan, South Korea, and even Russia. Though Japan has tried to back off its confrontation with China over the Senkaku Islands, it seems to have no intention of doing the same with South Korea.

Asia needs a forum for resolving these issues.

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  • alex scipio

    Well, Japan needs SOMETHING to take its voters’ minds off their government running out of money in a few weeks, right?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Japan will geek, the Japanese culture is bankrupt with 200%+ GDP Debt, abysmal demographics, and a military limited to 1% of GDP. South Korea on the other hand is becoming a 1st world power with some of the highest tech products and world class brand names.

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