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Japanese Embassy sends back Moon's New Year gift over Dokdo image box

12:09 January 22, 2022

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- The Japanese Embassy in Seoul has refused to accept South Korean President Moon Jae-in's Lunar New Year gift, claiming the gift's box bears an image of South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo, Japanese news reports said Saturday.

South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae had sent a gift box with traditional liquor and other items to Ambassador Koichi Aiboshi and other foreign ambassadors in Seoul to celebrate the Lunar New Year that falls on Feb. 1.

But the Japanese Embassy returned the gift on Friday, as the box has an illustration that resembles the image of Dokdo in the East Sea, according to the reports.

This photo shows the image on the box of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's gift sent to foreign ambassadors in the country to mark the Lunar New Year. The Japanese embassy refused to receive it, as the image resembles Dokdo in the East Sea. (Yonhap)

Upon the refusal, the embassy lodged a protest and renewed territorial claim to the islets.

The image of a sunrise is believed to represent South Korea's commitment to overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and starting anew in the new year. Dokdo is where people can watch the first sunrise.

The presidential office, however, did not make specific comments on the issue.

South Korea has been in effective control of Dokdo, with a small police detachment, since its liberation from Japanese colonial rule in 1945.

Still, Japan repeatedly claims sovereignty to the rocky outcroppings, making it a thorn in relations between the two countries.

A South Korean Coast Guard ship patrols near the country's easternmost Dokdo Islets on Sept. 2, 2021, eight days ahead of the 68th anniversary of Korea Coast Guard Day. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)



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