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Disputed islets between S Korea and Japan

Visitors to the islets of Dokdo, controlled by South Korea, rose 28 percent in 2008 despite territorial dispute between Seoul and Tokyo, the Korea Times reported on Wednesday.


According to South Korean administration offices at Ulleung Islet and Dokdo, in 2008, 129,910 people landed on the Dokdo islets, which Japan calls Takeshima, up from 101,428 in 2007.


The number of monthly travelers to the islets was at its highest in May with 23,135, followed by 19,876 in October and 19,485 in August. The figure plunged after a cold spell swept the peninsula, with 6,421 in November and a mere 36 in December.


More than 100,000 travelers landed from ferries, helicopters or navy patrol vessels. Nearly 27,300 failed to land due to adverse weather conditions, the report said.


The increase of visitors to Dokdo came after the government expanded the daily quota of visitors to Dokdo to 1,880 starting 2007 from 140 in 2005, it said.


Both Japan and South Korea insist territorial sovereignty over the disputed islets located east off the Korean Peninsula in the Sea of Japan.


(Xinhua News Agency January 7, 2009)