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S. Korean Singer Swimming into Dokdo

By Park Sae-jin Posted : August 19, 2012, 13:49 Updated : August 19, 2012, 13:49
Kim Jang-hoon, a famous South Korean singer, was swimming into the diplomatic rocky islets in the East Sea. He is among dozens of amateur athletes bound for Dokdo who left the eastern port of Uijin Monday. The group's 55-hour, 230-kilometer relay swim is expected to end Wednesday, on the 67th anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japanese colonial rule.

Before jumping into the water, singer Kim Jang-Hoon told reporters: “I will never make such a comment as ‘Dokdo is our territory’ when I arrive there. It‘s meaningless to do so because they are undeniably our territory,” according to the Yonhap news agency.

South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak became the first South Korean president to visit the heated islands. “Dokdo is indeed our territory and a place worth staking our lives to defend. Let’s make sure to safeguard (the islets) with pride,” he was reported to have told police officers stationed on the islands. Lee‘s visit inflamed Japan which recalled its ambassador to Seoul.

Masatoshi Muto, and threatened to take the dispute to the International Court of Justice. “President Lee visited Takeshima, which is an inherent territory of Japan, both in the light of historical facts and based on international law. Therefore it is incompatible with the position of Japan, and so I made a strong protest on the matter,” Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba told a press conference Friday.

Although Japan has long claimed the islets as their territory, Seoul said all Korean territory was returned after the country won independence from colonial rule by Japan in 1945. Dokdo has a population of three and is manned by a small South Korean force.

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