The man ignited a fire inside his car in front of the Japanese embassy building in Seoul [Handout/Jongro Fire Station/AFP]

An elderly South Korean man has died hours after setting himself on fire outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul, police said, at a time of worsening ties between the East Asian neighbours.

The 78-year-old man, surnamed Kim, ignited a fire inside his car parked in front of the embassy building early on Friday. He died while being treated at a Seoul hospital, police said.

Kim spoke to an acquaintance on the phone while driving to the Japanese Embassy from his home and said he was “setting fire” because of “his hostility against Japan“, a police officer at Seoul’s Jongno Police Station told the

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