S. Korea slams Japan over film on disputed islets

Seoul demands Tokyo remove clip that claims Dokdo/Takeshima belong to Japan

SEOUL - South Korea has condemned Japan for publishing a video in 10 languages challenging its sovereignty over a tiny group of islets at the heart of a territorial dispute, demanding that Tokyo remove it.

The film, published on Wednesday by the Japanese Foreign Ministry on its own website and on YouTube, insists the islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), called Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo, are its own.

The 90-second clip - subtitled and dubbed in 10 languages including English, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish and Arabic - described Seoul's de facto control over the islets as "illegal".

"We gravely protest the publication of the video... and strongly demand that Japan remove these videos immediately," Seoul's Foreign Ministry said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

"We will never tolerate Japan's attempt to violate our territorial sovereignty and will respond resolutely," it said.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry website also published a multi-language leaflet to accompany the video, arguing that Japan's connection to the islets stretches back more than 200 years.

Japan and South Korea have bickered for decades over control of the islets.

The row escalated last year following a surprise visit by then South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. In October, South Korea carried out a military exercise there.

Relations have also been strained by other issues of contention arising from Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule over the Korean peninsula.

Japan is embroiled in a separate row with China over another set of disputed islands, in the East China Sea.

Japan's Foreign Ministry also published this week a video reasserting its claim on the islands - called Senkaku by Tokyo and Diaoyu by Beijing - in 10 languages.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE