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2011-07-14

Korea regrets Japan’s boycott of Korean Air in Dokdo spat

Dokdo

Korea regrets Japan’s boycott of Korean Air in Dokdo spat

The Korean government expressed its regret on Thursday after Japan reportedly instructed diplomats not to use Korean Air planes in protest over its showcase flight over the disputed Dokdo islets.

The Korean Foreign Ministry urged Tokyo lift the order immediately and pledged stern responses against any Japanese moves encroaching Korea’s sovereign rights over the tiny easternmost islets.

Earlier in the day, the Asahi Shimbun reported that Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an order to boycott the Korean airline for a month from July 18.

Korean Air conducted a demonstration flight with its newly introduced Airbus A380 passenger jet between Incheon and Dokdo, on June 16, a day before it went into service on the route to Tokyo.

Japanese Ambassador to Korea Mutto Masatoshi made a protest visit to Korean Air on July 11 and notified that Japanese Foreign Ministry employees will not be taking its flights.  

“Japan’s protest with Korea’s national airline flying over Korean territory is unacceptable,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

“Especially, it is regrettable that Japan took an unprecedented action of officially restricting the use of a private carrier. To safeguard Korean sovereignty and territory, the government will firmly and strictly cope with Japan's unjustifiable claim to Korean territory,” he said on condition of customary anonymity.

Tension between the two neighbors is set to flare up again as the Japanese government plans to publish a defense white paper in coming months that is expected to include its territorial claim over Dokdo.



By Jung Eun-jung

(kristin2j@gmail.com)

Intern reporter

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