Associated Press, March 20, 2005
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Sunday that it was guarding against a possible Japanese cyber attack on its Web site as emotions run high in the two countries over a territorial dispute. Computer experts detected signs of alleged hackers in Japan trying to send massive loads of data to the ministry Web site.
"Our Web site has not been down, but we maintain our firewall in case there is a cyber attack," a ministry spokesman said on condition of anonymity. South Korea and Japan are locked in a territorial row over a set of rocky islets, called Dokdo and Takeshima in Japan, that lie roughly midway between the two nations. South Korea controls the islets, keeping a police contingent there. But Japan has regularly renewed its claim to the islets, and tempers recently flared in South Korea when a local Japanese assembly voted to designate a special day to commemorate Tokyo's claim.
On a visit to Seoul, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington has no position on the territorial dispute between its Asian allies. Japan ruled the Korean Peninsula as a colony from 1910 to 1945. Although South Korea joins Japan in international efforts to end communist North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, the two Koreas stand together in the islet feud. "It is the invariable intention of the Japanese reactionaries to put Korea again under their control and realize their ambition for territorial expansion," North Korea's official Minju Joson newspaper wrote Sunday. "Japan will never be able to stretch its hand to the islet or set foot on it."