The Korean government on Tuesday rejected a proposal by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to jointly refer the question of sovereignty over Dokdo to the International Court of Justice.
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan told the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee that the proposal is "not worth considering." He added, "Our position is that there should exist no territorial disputes over Dokdo because Dokdo is our territory."
Tokyo notified Korea of the proposal through the Japanese Embassy in Seoul. But a Cheong Wa Dae official said, "There is no need to respond to the Japanese government's measures. The best way to deal with provocations over Dokdo is to ignore them."
Tokyo is now preparing to take the issue to the ICJ by itself, Kyodo News reported. In principle a country needs the consent of the other party for the ICJ to take any action, but the Japanese government believes this is a useful way to give the international community the impression that Dokdo is disputed territory.
Noda told his Cabinet to consider additional measures beyond the usual diplomatic channels and called for comprehensive efforts involving both the private and public sectors. He also ordered his government to publicize Tokyo's claim to the islets.
But some Japanese officials are urging caution. Financial Services Minister Tadahiro Matsushita on Tuesday said a currency swap agreement with Korea "is there because it is necessary," and Korea and Japan "must exercise objectivity and patience." Other Japanese government officials also believe that Tokyo should postpone taking the Dokdo issue to the ICJ until next year.