The diplomatic conflict between Japan and South Korea over the disputed islands of Takeshima was flamed by Friday’s statements of the Korean president Lee Myung-bak, who visited the islands and said they are “worthy of sacrificing our lives”.
Japan recalled its ambassador to South Korea, while prime minister Yoshihiko Noda restated that the islets belong to Japan “historically and by international law”. South Korea calls the islands Dokdo, while some other international parties outside the dispute, including the U.S., know them as Liancourt Rocks.
Japan’s foreign minister Koichiro Gemba said that his country is considering filing a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice, prompting a comment from South Korea’s ruling party, that such a decision would be “imprudent”.
Even soccer players got involved in the dispute. In an incident that is currently under investigation by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), South Korea’s midfielder Park Jong-Woo displayed a banner moments after the ending of the bronze game against Japan on Friday, which claimed his country’s ownership of the islands.
South Korea said that the banner came from a spectator. The IOC decided to withhold the player’s bronze medal while it investigates the violation against the displaying of political statements by athletes during the Olympic Games.