Asian bickering ensues over territory

PYONGYANG, North Korea, June 29 (UPI) -- A North Korean official said Pyongyang was upset by Japanese claims to a tiny islet, describing the move as unsettling to the region.

Japan has laid claim to islets of Dokdo, about 1,000 miles south of Tokyo. An unidentified spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said the claims were an "absurd" move that would heighten regional tensions, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reports.


South Korea has issued its objection to Japanese claims over the islets. The ministry spokesman said Japan's claims were "sinister," calling for vigilance from members of the international community.

Tensions in the region are high following an April attempt by North Korea to deploy a long-range rocket. Similar attempts in 2006 and 2009 coincided with nuclear tests.

South Korea and Japan were to sign a milestone agreement on intelligence sharing Friday. The South Koreans, however, raised a variety of concerns over the pact, which lead to its suspension, CNN reports.

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