SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's foreign minister said Tuesday the government will run advertisements in Japanese media in response to recent Japanese ads laying claims to South Korea- controlled islets, local media reported.
The remark by Kim Sung-hwan, who is accompanying President Lee Myung-bak on his visit to Norway, came soon after the Japanese government described the island chain as part of its territory in ads on some 70 local newspapers.
Seoul's foreign ministry strongly protested the move earlier in the day, calling the territorial claim "false" and accusing Japan of "regressing" on historical issues.
The government is considering a major hike in the budget to be allocated to the sparsely inhabited islets, known as Dokdo here and Takeshima in Japan, ministry spokesman Cho Tae-young said during a press briefing.
Lying equidistant between the two countries, the lonely set of rocky outcroppings has been a chronic source of diplomatic row as Japan repeatedly claims South Korea is illegally occupying the islets.
The acrimony reached a peak after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's high-profile visit last year to the sparsely inhabited islets coveted for rich mineral resources in its surrounding waters.
Japan responded by suggesting the two countries take the dispute to the International Court of Justice, though officials here have repeatedly rejected the proposal as "not even worthy of consideration".
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, facing an impending leadership contest of his Democratic Party of Japan, recently pledged to refer the dispute to the Hague-based court.
The proposed third-party arbitration is Japan's third attempt to bring international attention to the decades-old dispute over the tiny islets, though the ICJ will not hear the case unless the two contending parties agree to the referral.
South Korea regained the control of the islands after the end of Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula. With the two Asian neighbors long at odds over historical issues, many South Koreans see the recurring spats as a sign of an unrepentant Japan.