S. Korea lodges protest with Japan over description of islets

South Korea on Tuesday lodged an official protest against Japan for describing South Korea-controlled islets in the Sea of Japan as Japanese territory in an annual defense document released earlier in the day.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry called in a senior Japanese diplomat from the Japanese Embassy to deliver the protest.

A ministry spokesman also issued a statement criticizing the description in the Defense White Paper for 2013.

"We strongly protest Japan's including a territorial claim again on Dokdo, which is clearly our territory," the statement said, referring to the islets by their Korean name.

South Korea urges Japan to immediately delete the claim from the white paper and to prevent the recurrence of similar cases, the statement said.

The statement also said South Korea will never tolerate Japan's territorial claim to the islets.

In a similar move, the spokesman of South Korea's Defense Ministry told reporters the ministry will call in a defense attache at the Japanese Embassy to deliver the protest.

"As soon as the contents of the Defense White Paper are officially confirmed, we will call in a Japanese defense attache and deliver a stern protest," spokesman Wi Yong Sup said.

Wi also said Japan cannot expect to develop exchanges and cooperation in the field of defense with South Korea unless it retracts its territorial claim over islets, known as Takeshima in Japanese.

The white paper, approved at the Cabinet earlier Tuesday, has contained the description of the islets as Japanese territory for the ninth year, according to Yonhap News Agency.