The foreign ministry issued a strong protest on Monday over Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi's parliamentary speech that renewed Japan's claim to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo.
During his speech on foreign policy, Motegi claimed that the East Sea islets are inherently Japan's territory, remarks that overshadowed budding efforts to defuse a row between Seoul and Tokyo over wartime history and trade.
"The government strongly protests the fact that the Japanese government, through a diplomatic speech by its foreign minister, repeated the improper claim to Dokdo, which is inherently our territory, and we urge it to immediately retract the claim," Kim In-chul, the ministry's spokesman, said in a statement.
"As Dokdo is clearly our inherent territory historically, geographically and by international law, our government calls on the Japanese government to halt the futile attempt regarding Dokdo and humbly face history," he added.
The Japanese government has claimed sovereignty over Dokdo in its annual foreign policy address to the legislature for seven consecutive years.
South Korea has been in effective control of Dokdo since the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japan's colonial rule in 1945. (Yonhap)