DOKDO, South Korea, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- Lawmakers of the parliamentary education committee visited South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo on Monday and denounced Japan's distorted territorial claim to the islets.

Ruling and opposition lawmakers made an on-site inspection of the rocky outcroppings in the East Sea, to which Japan has long laid territorial claims.

"Japan has issued a guideline to teach students starting next year that Dokdo is its territory. We've come here to tell Japan that Dokdo is South Korean territory and to put an end to Tokyo's absurd claim," Rep. Lee Chan-yeol of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, who leads the education committee, said.

"The visit also aims to remind young South Koreans of the fact that Dokdo is our territory," he added.

It marked the first visit by South Korean lawmakers to Dokdo since 2016.

Monday's visit came three days ahead of the Day of Dokdo, which was announced by a private organization in 2000 to mark King Gojong's edict on Oct. 25, 1900, that the Dokdo islets are attached to Ulleung Island.

Holding the national flags and wearing scarves with the phrase "Love for Dokdo" around their necks, lawmakers went and looked around the islets.

"Japan should stop its silly act of distorting history and atone for what it did for peace and co-prosperity in Northeast Asia," said Rep. Kim Han-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

The Dokdo islets, which lie closer to South Korea than Japan in the waters between the two countries, have been one of the thorniest diplomatic issues between the neighbors.

Japan claimed the islets in 1905 before it colonized the entire Korean Peninsula from 1910. South Korea has kept a small police detachment on Dokdo since the liberation in 1945 from Japan.

On Sunday, Kim Sung-do, the only remaining resident on Dokdo, died at 79 after suffering from cancer.

Kim, who was called a guardian of the islets, had lived there since the 1960s. He was active in promoting Dokdo as South Korean territory against Japan's claim to the islets.

Source: Yonhap News Agency