Make Dokdo Day Official

Japan’s approved textbook guidelines, made public in July, describe Koreas Dokdo islets as “illegally occupied by Korea,” but Japanese territory in terms of history and international law.” The description, formally requested by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, will be repeated in approved high school textbooks soon.

Why does Japan repeat this distorted view of history and attempt at plunder even at the risk of diplomatic issues with China, other East Asian countries and even the United States? It cannot just be a gimmick for domestic consumption. Japan must be seen as intending to plunder the Korean Peninsula and Dokdo. Some Japanese historians say Japan invaded Korea in 1592 in a bid to complete the unification of the Japanese islands. Its annexation of Korea in 1910 confirms that Japan always had designs on Korea, and it is an extension of the same idea that Japan continues sea border conflicts with Korea and China by expanding exclusive economic zones to 200 sea miles and made persistent efforts to replace the name Dokdo with Takeshima or at least Liancourt Rocks.

We need a new policy. Our “quiet diplomacy” of not provoking Japan into disputes has failed. We must inform the world and secure its agreement to that Dokdo is Korean territory historically and geographically. Instead of being glad and sad by turns at Japan’s provocations, we must establish a long-term research program on the East Sea and Dokdo and make the islets useable. Externally, we must let the world know that the East Sea and Dokdo have long been our territory. Achievements under the program should be accumulated in schools, further education, the media and books. And the government, civic organizations and the Korean people as a whole should each play their part in publicizing them.

That is why we need an official Dokdo Day. On Oct. 25, 1900, King Kojong issued Imperial Edict no. 41 incorporating Dokdo into Ulleung County and appointed Bae Kye-joo as its first commissioner. A civic organization has launched a signature drive to proclaim Oct. 25 Dokdo Day, and the National Assembly has proposed legislation. The Lee Myung-bak administration has been dealing firmly with Japan’s provocations, but if such initiatives are to bear fruit, Koreans must mark Dokdo Day regularly and lobby the international community so that Japan can one day become a responsible member.

The column was contributed by Lee Soo-kwang, chairman of the Korea National Council for Conservation of Nature.

[Digital Chosunilbo] | Original News @ HERE
Date : 2008/10/24

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