Seoul on Thursday officially rejected Japan's proposal to take the question of sovereignty over Korea's Dokdo to the International Court of Justice. Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba declared himself "extremely disappointed," according to the Kyodo news agency.
The ICJ needs the consent of both parties in any dispute to spring into action.
In a press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said, "We made it clear that we have no reason whatsoever to accept Japan's proposal because no territorial disputes exists about Dokdo, which is Korea's inalienable territory historically, geographically and under international law."
Earlier on Aug. 21, Tokyo proposed taking the Dokdo matter to the ICJ and also reaching a settlement based on diplomatic notes about dispute settlement exchanged when the two countries singed the bilateral normalization treaty in 1965.
The Foreign Ministry delivered what is called in diplomatic French a "note verbale" to a diplomat from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Thursday, "reminding Tokyo of the historical facts that Dokdo fell victim to Japan's imperialist occupation of the Korean Peninsula and that the islets were restored as an inalienable part of Korean territory through the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Declaration, and Japan's unconditional surrender," according to Cho.
Meanwhile, the government plans to step up a global PR campaign to counter Japan's claim to the islets, in the belief that Japan will highly likely argue in the international community that Seoul is avoiding ICJ proceedings for fear of finding itself in a disadvantageous position.
The Foreign Ministry is going to "publish pamphlets about Dokdo in several foreign languages and aggressively refute Japan's wrongheaded claim" on a dedicated website, according to a spokesman.