World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korean members of parliament visited a set of remote islands also claimed by Japan on Tuesday, a move likely to further fray ties between two of the most important U.S. allies in Asia.
The tour followed a visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in August, the first by a Korean leader, which prompted Japan to recall its ambassador to Seoul. The row was then overshadowed by a far more acute dispute between Tokyo and Beijing over another island group.
South Korea controls the islands, known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japan and equidistant from the mainlands of both countries.
A Korean police official on the islands said the parliamentarians, flying in by helicopters for the third such visit, were briefed on coast guard and other activities as part of an "audit" by parliament's Defence Committee.
Japan issued a formal protest to South Korea's ambassador.
"We've confirmed that the committee members landed on Takeshima," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters in Tokyo. "Takeshima is sovereign Japanese territory and such a step is completely unacceptable."
Japan, which ruled Korea for more than three decades last century, has said it will take the issue of the rocky island chain to the International Court of Justice.
But South Korea must first give its assent, a notion it rejects as it has long considered the islands its territory "historically, geographically and by international law".
Experts say there is no indication that the dispute would develop into the kind of diplomatic standoff that has severely damaged ties and trade between Tokyo and Beijing, although it remains a major irritant for the United States.
Strained relations between Seoul and Tokyo over issues related to Japan's colonial rule of Korea scuppered a planned intelligence sharing deal earlier this year.
A Korean study said has said there could be deposits of natural gas near the islands, although no exploratory work has been conducted.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is mounting an attempt to airlift nationals from the Yemeni city of Sanaa.
An NSA spokeswoman had no immediate comment. Spokesmen for Fort Meade and Anne Arundel County Police referred questions to the spy agency.
Ismail Haniyeh held a phone conversation on Monday with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
"We have already pledged full support to Saudi Arabia in its operation against rebels and will join the coalition," the official said.
Presence of U.S. troops a key Taliban objection to talks with the likelihood of President's request for more U.S. support may erode trust
The appeals court had said the New York City Board of Education's regulation, created so the city would not be perceived as endorsing religious activity in a public forum, "was consistent with its constitutional duties."
Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh thanked Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said in a Facebook statement
Iranian news website Tabnak named the journalist as Amir Hossein Motaghi, who helped Rouhani to his landslide win in the 2013 presidential elections.
Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari leads Nigeria presidential vote in 6 out of 9 states announced
Ban ki Moon expresses concern for Iraqi refugees
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation agreement signed in Turkish capital
According to witnesses, pro-Saleh forces, Houthis enter Yemen's Ad Dali after 6 days of clashes
"The question is can and will Greece fulfil the expectations that we all have," Merkel said during a visit toHelsinki.
The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa made it compulsory for all schools to hire armed guards, raise the height of boundary walls with barbed wire and install closed-circuit televison.
"So far, we have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a joint statement.