Earlier in the day, the Japanese Defense Ministry released its annual white paper for 2017, where it claimed that the disputed archipelago is a part of its territory.
“The Japanese government should be clearly aware that such repeated, futile claims over Dokdo are in no way conducive to the efforts to develop the ROK [Republic of Korea]-Japan cooperative partnership in a future-oriented and mature manner,” the South Korean Foreign Ministry’s statement read.
Seoul urged Tokyo to immediately withdraw its claim to the Dokdo islets.
“The government of the Republic of Korea once again makes clear that it will respond sternly to any provocations over Dokdo, which is clearly an integral part of the ROK’s territory in terms of history, geography and international law,” the ministry added.
The islets, also known as Takeshima in Japan, have long been a roadblock in the diplomatic relations between the two states. South Korea claims the Dokdo islets were annexed by Japan during its colonization of the Korean Peninsula in the 20th century. The islets are administered by South Korea, but Japan disputes these actions.
In June, Seoul carried out military drills on the archipelago, the objective of which was to practice defense in the event of a possible invasion by external forces. The actions were opposed by Tokyo.