SEOUL, July 26 (UPI) -- The South Korean government should ignore a claim by Japan regarding the islets of Dokdo, a U.S. expert says.
David Straub, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and prominent expert on Korea, said Friday that South Korea has possession of the islets and should merely ignore property claims made by Japan, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
"The ROK is in possession of Dokdo and that will not change," Straub said, referring to South Korea's official name of the Republic of Korea. "The international community basically isn't even aware of the controversy between Japan and the ROK over Dokdo, much less engaged about it, and it is in the ROK's interests to keep it that way."
Japan seized control of the islands in 1904 after a war with Russia, but South Korea has kept scores of police officers on the islands since 1954.
The territorial dispute has led to near military clashes in recent years and Straub recommends the United States not become involved in the ongoing clash, Yonhap said.
"What U.S. officials can't and shouldn't do is mediate, much less support one side or the other," Straub said.