S. Korea keeps Dokdo promotion budget steady for 2015

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's foreign ministry said Monday it has allocated 4.84 billion won (US$4.75 million) in budget for next year to publicize Seoul's sovereignty over its easternmost islets of Dokdo in the East Sea.

The budget request remains unchanged from the money set aside for this year to be used toward a series of projects aimed at promoting the country's ownership of Dokdo, officials said.

It will be finalized after consultation with related government ministries and parliamentary reviews, the ministry said.

The foreign ministry has been ramping up efforts to publicize Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo by unveiling an online video clip over the islets on its website as well as by opening a mobile homepage.

The moves are designed to show that Dokdo is South Korean territory in terms of history, geography and international law.

Dokdo islets, which lie closer to South Korea than Japan in waters between the two countries, have been a thorny bilateral issue. South Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets.

South Korea rejects Japan's claim to Dokdo as nonsense because the country regained its independence from Japanese colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territories, including Dokdo and many other islands around the Korean Peninsula.

"Any attempt (by Japan) to lay claim to Dokdo will not be successful, and we call on (Japan) to stop such moves," said an official at the foreign ministry.

Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun earlier reported that the Japanese government plans to conduct a survey of residents of the Oki Islands, which are located between Dokdo and its Honshu Island, in a move to claim sovereignty over Dokdo.

The Seoul government has been increasing its Dokdo-related budget since 2003 when funds of some 250 million won were first set aside.

It rose to 42.4 billion won in 2013 following then-President Lee Myung-bak's unprecedented visit to Dokdo in 2012.

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