Raw : Korean's Kill Pheasants Outside Japans Embassy Over Territorial Dispute.

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17/07/2008 12:41
SEOUL - South Korea has rejected Japan’s proposal to hold a bilateral foreign ministers’ meeting at an Asian forum later this month, in anger over a territorial dispute, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said on Thursday.

Japan on Monday renewed territorial claims over desolate islands claimed by both countries but controlled by South Korea, triggering official complaints from Seoul.

"Japan recently proposed a bilateral meeting in Singapore but we replied we had no such plan," Yonhap quoted a diplomatic source as saying.

Foreign ministry officials in Seoul declined to confirm the report but one official said its minister Yu Myung-hwan had no plans to meet Japan’s Masahiko Komura at the Asian forum in Singapore.

On Thursday, about 20 former South Korean soldiers trained to infiltrate North Korea killed a species of pheasant similar to Japan’s national bird in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul, in protest at the territorial claim.

The group, which appears frequently at protests aimed at Japan, then beat the dead pheasants with hammers and hacked them with knives so their blood would run on Japanese flags that carried pictures of Japan’s prime minister.

They then ripped the carcasses apart and ate livers from the freshly killed fowl. No one was arrested for the protest.

this week, South Korea recalled its ambassador to Japan and lodged formal complaints in response to the fresh territorial claims made by Japan over the islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

The fight over the desolate islands has been a persistent irritant in ties between the neighbours, rekindling memories in South Korea of Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over the peninsula.

Japan’s top government spokesman said he had heard the foreign ministers’ meeting was unlikely to take place.

South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak, who had pledged better ties with major trading partner Japan after his predecessor waged a "diplomatic war" said on Wednesday South Koreans were "understandably enraged" and prescribed a tough response.

South Korea keeps a police presence on the islands, which are about the same distance from the mainland of both countries.

The waters surrounding the islands are rich in marine life while the seabed in the area may have deposits of a natural gas hydrate that could be worth billions of dollars.