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South Korea refuses to take Takeshima to ICJ

Publication Date : 31-08-2012


South Korea on Thursday officially refused Japan's proposal to jointly ask the International Court of Justice to settle a row over the Takeshima islands, South Korean officials said.

The South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry summoned an official of the Japanese Embassy and delivered a document to officially refuse the proposal.

The Japanese government immediately started preparations to file a suit on its own with the ICJ, Japanese government sources said.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said that the proper path is to settle this issue in keeping with law and justice. Japan therefore will seek judgment in a court of international justice, the Japanese sources said.

According to Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry sources, the South Korean government claimed in the document that Dokdo, the name used for the islands in South Korea, is clearly their sovereign territory, a fact that precludes the existence of any dispute over the islands.

Therefore, the joint filing to the ICJ is not worth consideration, the document said.

Based on the same reasoning, South Korea also refused another Japanese proposal seeking mediation to resolve the territorial row in accordance with a bilateral diplomatic note on settling disputes between the two countries, signed at the time of the 1965 normalization of their relations.

There are two ways to start a trial at the ICJ against South Korea regarding sovereignty over the islands.

-- Japan alone files a suit with the ICJ and South Korea agrees to the start of the trial.

-- Both Japan and South Korea agree to jointly file a suit.

If Japan files a suit alone, it will prepare a written document based on international law and other rules to submit to the ICJ. The work may take several months, according to the Japanese sources.

It is likely Japan will mainly argue that the San Francisco Peace Treaty, which went into effect in 1952, does not include Takeshima among the territories to which Japan gave up territorial rights, although South Korea had asked the islands be included.

However, even if Japan alone files the suit with the ICJ, a trial will not be held if South Korea refuses.


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