Asia

Rocky islands source of tension

Updated 9:14 PM ET, Thu October 4, 2012
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South Korean police watch over the rocky outcrop located between the Korean peninsula and Japan. The head of the Dokdo guards, Lee Gwang-seup says, "Japan wants to take our land by force. This has been our land since ancient times and we have to protect it." Japan calls the islands Takeshima. CNN
A group of tourists from South Korea arrives on the islands on a ferry carrying flags. Kevin Kim, 40, says, "I'm a native of Korea and an American citizen but in my blood I'm Korean... I feel so great to be here... It really makes me upset when Japan claims this island, it's absurd and it should not be tolerated." CNN
Traditional Chinese characters read "Korean territory" on disputed islands of Dokdo/Takeshima. Tokyo recently asked Seoul to resolve ownership of the islands diplomatically by referring it jointly to the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Seoul refused, saying there was no question of sovereignty. CNN
CNN and other international media were invited by South Korea to the islands claimed by both Seoul and Tokyo. In a statement to CNN, Japan's Foreign Ministry called the trip "extremely regrettable and totally unacceptable." CNN
The waters around the islands are rich fishing grounds. It's also believed that large gas reserves are nearby, although no-one knows how big they are or whether it would be feasible to tap them.