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Ahead of Kishida’s trip to Seoul, South Korea, Japan in verbal duel over disputed islets

South Korea and Japan sparred Wednesday about disputed islands ahead of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Seoul.

South Korean Foreign Ministry rejected a Japanese protest about a main opposition lawmaker’s visit to the easternmost islets of Dokdo and called it an “unfair claim,” according to Yonhap News Agency.

“The government dismissed the unfair claim from Japan through diplomatic channels,” the agency quoted an unnamed senior official. “Dokdo is South Korea’s sovereign territory historically, geographically and under international law.”

Japan said Tuesday that the lawmaker visited the disputed island despite its protest and a government request to cancel the trip.

“In light of historical facts and under international law, Takeshima is clearly an inherent territory of Japan. In light of this, it is extremely regrettable that we cannot accept it at all,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

South Korea effectively controls the islets, which Tokyo refers to as Takeshima and claims as its territory.

Tokyo’s renewed claims to Dokdo came despite ongoing efforts to revitalize relations.

The development came days ahead of a weekend two-day visit to the South Korean capital by Kishida,

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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