WORLD NEWS TOMORROW -SEOUL: South Korea’s ruling party has hit back at Japan in a row over disputed islands, saying any move by Japan to take the issue to an international court would be ”imprudent”.The row over the islands controlled by South Korea has simmered for decades but erupted on Friday when the South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak, visited the volcanic outcrops in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Japan recalled its ambassador from Seoul and the Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, said that the trip – the first by a South Korean leader – was ”extremely deplorable”.South Korea’s ruling New Frontier Party said any such move would be an act of ”imprudence”, and called on Japan to fully repent its harsh colonial rule over Korea from 1910 to 1945.

A party spokesman, Hong Il-pyo, said in a statement that Japan’s ”preposterous” claim over Dokdo had stirred Koreans’ anger.Mr Hong also cited Japanese textbooks, which critics say distort history, and Tokyo’s refusal to address grievances of Korean women who were forced into brothels during World War II.

”We denounce such attitudes by Japan. And if it continues to lay claim over Dokdo, we cannot but take it as a refusal to abandon Japan’s will towards invading Korean territory,” Mr Hong said.Historical disputes continue to mar the two countries’ relationship, despite close economic ties and shared concerns over North Korea’s nuclear programs.

Japan may find it difficult to bring the issue to the court, which requires an agreement between the disputing parties to make its ruling binding. South Korea rejected repeated proposals by Japan in the 1950s and 1960s to let the court rule on the issue. At the Olympics, Park Jong-woo of South Korea was barred from the football medals ceremony after he celebrated their win over Japan by holding up a banner laying claim to the island chain.

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