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Japan seeks joint ICJ suit over Takeshima
Publication Date : 18-08-2012
Japan's Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba proposed yesterday that Japan and South Korea jointly file a suit with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a peaceful settlement of the dispute over the Takeshima islands in the Sea of Japan, officials said.
Gemba made the overture in a meeting with South Korean Ambassador to Japan Shin Kak Soo at the Foreign Ministry building.
If the government fails to obtain South Korea's agreement to work together to bring the Takeshima issue before the U.N. tribunal at The Hague, Japan will lodge a suit on its own, the officials said.
In talks with the South Korean ambassador, Gemba expressed deep regret over South Korean President Lee Myung Bak's visit to the Takeshima islands last week.
The foreign minister also told Shin that Lee's subsequent remark, in which he said the Emperor should sincerely apologize to Koreans who died in the independence movement under Japanese colonial rule if he hopes to visit South Korea, was also highly regrettable, according to officials.
The officials quoted Gemba as telling Shin that Lee should be discreet and refrain from repeating such behaviour.
It is believed that the South Korean ambassador indicated that his country would refuse the joint filing of a suit regarding the Takeshima issue.
A trial at the ICJ cannot start without the agreement of both parties concerned. Even if Japan files a suit on its own, a trial will not be held if South Korea does not give its consent.
Japan proposed bringing the sovereignty issue to the ICJ in 1954 and 1964. However, South Korea rejected the proposal both times.
Seoul rejects Japan's proposal
South Korea's Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry confirmed yesterday its government would reject Japan's proposal of jointly filing a suit to resolve the Takeshima islands dispute at the International Court of Justice.
South Korea's stance was confirmed at a meeting of senior officials at the ministry. One official said, "There is no territorial dispute between the two countries." The official went on to say Japan's plan of referring the Takeshima issue to the ICJ should be condemned as a "blatant act of provocation against our sovereignty."
The ministry will press the Japanese government to withdraw from filing a suit with the ICJ, the sources said.