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.
Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.
"There were seven people aboard, they are all believed to be dead," the official said, adding they were US service members.
A doctor at the private Goyal Hospital told AFP Friday that Clinton had undergone screening after suffering pain in her right hand following a fall.
The alliance is "dealing with the issue around this and in cyber and working to define an understanding of what would be a trigger for Article 5," General Curtis Scaparrotti, the commander of NATO forces in Europe, told a US Senate committee.
Speaking to reporters as he returned from a trip to Oman, Afghanistan and Bahrain, Mattis said officials he met with had expressed frequent concerns about Iranian behavior.
The newspaper said that Trump is discussing potential replacements for McMaster, but is willing to take his time because he wants to avoid humiliating him as well as to have a successor ready.
19 individuals, 5 entities blacklisted by Washington
Saeb Erekat slams recent White House meeting on Gaza's deteriorating humanitarian situation
Salim al-Jabouri says Turkey and Iraq will defeat terrorism together through 'full cooperation'
Oil is the lifeblood of OPEC member Venezuela's economy, but a major wave of political unrest that shows no sign of abating has slashed output.
'We shouldn't have to wake up in fear every day, knowing we can lose our lives in schools,' students says.
Known for his free-market stance, television host criticized Trump's tariff plan like his predecessor
Dialogue will continue to improve humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, White House says
‘The credibility of this Council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable,’ Nikki Haley says
ISIL terrorists were intercepted near Riyad town as a result of intelligence obtained
Pilot and weapons system officer are recovered from ocean one mile east of runway