South Korea asserts islet claim heightening tensions with Japan
Tensions rise in Tokyo-Seoul relations over disputed islets
South Korean protestors shout slogans during a rally against a planned visit of four lawmakers of Japan's opposition Liberal Democratic Party, in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul on July 29, 2011.
Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:9PM GMT
If we didn't set a bilateral summit with South Korea on the sidelines of APEC, it doesn't mean a 'cancellation' because it was never officially planned; however, there is an opinion (in the government) that Japan should tell President Lee, our opinion face-to-face, so I don't know if a summit will take place at this point or not."
A Japanese foreign ministry official
Japan and South Korea may not meet on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Russia due to escalating tensions over disputed islands.
Tokyo which is apparently deeply infuriated by the South Korean president Lee Myung-bak’s Friday visit to the disputed Island, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea has recalled its ambassador from Seoul.
Japan’s Sankei Shimbun Daily reported that Tokyo was considering suspending summits with Seoul "for the time being", including on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Russia and also a future visit by the Japanese premier to South Korea as part of the "shuttle diplomacy".
According to a Japanese foreign ministry official in charge of issues on the Korean peninsula, the issue of a leaders' meeting was still under discussion.
"If we didn't set a bilateral summit with South Korea on the sidelines of APEC, it doesn't mean a 'cancellation' because it was never officially planned; however, there is an opinion (in the government) that Japan should tell President Lee, our opinion face-to-face, so I don't know if a summit will take place at this point or not," AFP quoted the official as saying.
South Korean president said on Monday that his visit to the disputed island was intended to press Tokyo to settle the grievances left over from its colonial rule.
The Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, however, called the Friday visit “extremely deplorable” and the Foreign Minister of the country told reporters that Tokyo could ask the International Court of Justice to settle the row over ownership.
In the most recent development of the issue on Tuesday, the Korean president called on the Japanese Emperor Akihito to sincerely apologize for the country's colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula if he intends to visit South Korea.