VARIOUS: A South Korean man covers his body with bees to protest Japan's claims over islands claimed by...
- Title: VARIOUS: A South Korean man covers his body with bees to protest Japan's claims over islands claimed by both countries
- Date: 2nd May 2006
- Summary: (BN08) SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (MAY 1, 2006) (REUTERS) JAPANESE SENIOR VICE FOREIGN MINISTER YASUHISA SHIOZAKI GETTING OUT OF CAR AND ENTERING SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY HEADQUARTERS
- Reuters ID: LVA80IYTGAGTVDKALCIB7NJWRYZT
- Duration: 00:00:15
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- Topics: International Relations,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: A South Korean man covered his body with bees on Tuesday (May 2, 2006) to protest Japan's claims over islands disputed by both countries.
Ahn Sang-gyu covered his body with about 187,453 bees, which is the number of square metres the islands called Tokto in Korea and Takeshima in Japan consist of.
The bees weighed more than 40 kilogrammes.
Although Ahn was constantly stung by the bees which weighed more than 40 kilogrammes, he painted the slogan "Tokto is Korean land" in both Korean and Japanese on paper and stamped it with his palm covered with his blood.
"All South Koreans have to get up and stop the ship aimed at attacking Tokto," he said.
Ahn then jumped off a wooden stoop and landed on a Japanese flag spread on the floor.
The 45-year-old said the performance was aimed at having the bees sting the Japanese flag.
South Korea says the islands, which are uninhabited except for a garrison of its soldiers, have been recorded as part of its territory since
It says Japan claimed the islands in 1905 when Korea was forced into being a protectorate of Japan.
Japan says it effectively governed the islands by the mid-17th century.
Outside the Japanese embassy in the South Korean capital Seoul, about 200 protestors burned a flag symbolising Japan's past militarist regime and shouted slogans to protest Japan's claims over the islands while Japan's lower house lawmaker Taku Yamasaki visited South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon in Seoul.
On Monday (May 1), South Korea's ruling party chairman flew to the disputed islet and announced a three-point principle to declare the sovereignty of those islands, called Tokto by Korea and Takeshima by Japan.
The group of desolate volcanic island lie about 210 km (130 miles) from the shores of either country and have been the centre of tense diplomatic dispute.
Uri Party chairman Chung Dong-young flew to the islands by helicopter for one-day-trip while Japan's Senior Vice Minister Yashuhisa Shiozaki visited Seoul for so-called "future-oriented" bilateral talks.
After encouraging coast guard soldiers on the islands, Chung read the three-point principle including the island's historical background, taking measures against 'Japan's attempts' to make the area internationally disputed, and making efforts to safeguard the islands at all costs.
South Korea and Japan have come a long way as political and commercial partners with over 40 years of diplomatic ties.
But 35 years of Japan's colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula -- from 1910 to 1945 -- left bitter memories to Koreans.
The most recent spat is over a Japanese plan to conduct a nautical survey near the islets that both countries claim.
Economics are a factor, but Japan's colonial rule over the peninsula is key to understanding the disputes.
Japan says use of the term "Sea of Japan" for the body of water between the two countries, and its possession of the islands, were established well before its annexation of Korea, according to information posted on Japanese government Web sites.
South Korea objects to "Sea of Japan" and wants the world to call it the "East Sea". It says Japan won international approval for the name when Korea was a colony and unable to protest.
Seoul says that the disputed islands were among the first parts of its territory seized by Japan when it began the process of annexing and colonising the peninsula a century ago.
Seoul considers that Tokyo committed itself to returning the islands under the San Francisco peace treaty that defeated Japan signed in 1951. Tokyo says the islands were not included in that treaty and are still rightfully Japanese.
Now the wrangling has turned to names for undersea features used mostly by specialists, and this is set to be the focus of arguments at a meeting in June of a relatively obscure global body that seeks uniformity in nautical charts. END
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- Embargoed:17th May 2006 13:00