South Korea's foreign ministry on Wednesday issued a strong protest against Japanese politicians' rally in Tokyo to claim sovereignty of the East Sea islets of Dokdo, calling their assertion "absurd."
Some politicians in Tokyo held a demonstration to demand an "early resolution" of the Dokdo issue, aggravating tensions between the two countries in a long-simmering spat over a set of historical issues, including Japan's wartime sexual slavery.
"The government strongly protests the rally that some Japanese politicians held despite our government's repeated warnings and demands that the event be immediately abolished," the ministry said in a press release.
"The government once again calls on the Tokyo government to immediately stop a futile claim to Dokdo, which is part of our inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law, and urge it to clearly recognize that the right understanding of the shared history is the foundation for the development of the Korea-Japan relationship," it added.
Later in the day, the ministry called in Koichi Mizushima, minister at the Japanese embassy in Seoul, to officially lodge its protest.
At the rally, the fourth of its kind, Japanese politicians reportedly called for a "stern" response to Korea's occupation of the islets.
Korea has been in effective control of the islets with a small police detachment since its liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945. (Yonhap)