S. Korea Rejects Int’l Mediation in Island Dispute with Japan

Posted August 21st, 2012 at 5:55 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea has dismissed a proposal by Japan to take a long-running dispute over a group of islands to the International Court of Justice.

Seoul's Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said Tuesday the offer was “not worth considering,” and urged Japan to drop its claim to the islands.

Earlier, Japan's Cabinet said it would formally ask South Korea to jointly seek a resolution at the Hague-based ICJ. Unless both sides agree, the ICJ cannot open a case on the matter.

The decades-old territorial dispute escalated earlier this month after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the islands, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also told a meeting of government ministers Tuesday to look for other ways to resolve the disagreement.

Tokyo is reportedly considering whether to call off a soon-expiring currency swap deal with South Korea, as well as several other diplomatic or economic measures in response to Mr. Lee's visit to the islands.

The largely uninhabited islands are thought to be surrounded by potential energy deposits. They have been under effective South Korean control since the end of Japanese colonial rule after World War Two.