South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s surprise visit to the disputed island of Takeshima (Dokdo in South Korea), has stirred up controversy enough to nudge Japan to seek International Court’s intervention. Although South Korea says that they didn’t intend to ruffle any feathers, Japan is taking no chances and is aiming at sorting the issue through peaceful means.
The islands lie at equal distance from mainland Japan and South Korea and are said to be rich in frozen natural gas deposits, which is potentially worth billions of dollars. This makes it evident why none of the two nations want to let-go of this prime spot. Apparently President Lee also travelled to a larger island called Ulleungdo off the Korean peninsula’s east coast. This area is not disputed.
President Lee is the first South Korean leader to visit the island and he very well knows that it is the cause of strain between Japan and his country. It is a good thing that Japan is taking the peaceful path of lodging a case with the International Court of Justice to highlight the issue. Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said that the details of the case have to be still worked out, but action will be taken soon. Notably, Japan has recalled its ambassador to South Korea on Friday after this incident.[Via Reuters]