South Koreans Protest Japan’s Claim to Dokdo Islands

Posted July 20th, 2011 at 4:35 am (UTC-5)
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Dozens of South Koreans demonstrated outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul on Wednesday to protest a Japanese decision to bar its diplomats from flying on South Korea's national airline for 30 days.

About 100 people waved South Korean flags and chanted slogans during the protest. At one point, police intervened to prevent the demonstrators from burning a Japanese flag.

Tokyo issued the travel ban after Korean Air staged a demonstration flight of its new super-jumbo Airbus A380 over a disputed island chain in June. Japanese officials say the plane violated Japanese air space when it flew over the rocky islets known in South Korea as Dokdo and in Japan as Takeshima.

A group of Japanese lawmakers has also announced plans to travel to a nearby island to reinforce Japan's claims.

The islets, with only a handful of permanent inhabitants, are effectively administered by South Korea, which reclaimed them after emerging from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

South Korea's Chosun newspaper reported last week that the nation's military is expanding an air base in the Sea of Japan to boost its defense of the islands, also known as the Liancourt Rocks. South Korea calls the body of water the East Sea.