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Foreign sites carry wrong info on Korea

Posted January. 08, 2001 14:27,   


The national flag of the Republic of Korea is the flag of people¡¯s republic of North Korea. Its incumbent president is Kim Young-Sam. Its prime minister is Kim Jong-Pil.

Foreign Internet sites carrying such erroneous information on Korea, and such examples are increasing. The incorrect or outdated information tends to spread rapidly, as it is copied by other sites.

According to the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (www.prkorea.com), organized by netizens to launch a campaign to give the world correct understanding of Korea, bad data on Korea ranges extensively from the national flag and geography to history.

One of the most common cases is the erroneous description of the East Sea as the Sea of Japan. VANK members have, so far, found a total of 375 sites using the name Sea of Japan. Some of them corrected it with the protests by Korean netizens. But major U.S. universities such as Harvard (www.ap.harvard.edu) and Texas (www.lib.utexas.edu) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) insist on Sea of Japan.

The U.S. portal site Lycos recently corrected the Sea of Japan on its map of North Korea to East Sea, but still maintains the name of Sea of Japan on the map of Japan.

The site (www.magister.com.tr/network/network.htm) of Magister, a tourism and trade company, lists the North Korean flag as the flag of South Korea. Many sites also were found to be carrying incorrect images of the true South Korean flag, or taegukki.

A news portal site (www.eady.ms98.net) explains that ¡°the country of courteous people in the East, Chosun, was founded by Dangun.¡±

Travelocity (www.travelocity.com), a tourism portal site, explains that ¡°Koreans under Japanese colonial rule were indoctrinated to support (the war Japan provoked) fully, but at present Koreans have a revengeful thought against Japan.¡±

¡°The explanation gives impressions not only that Korean people followed the Japanese government under its colonial rule without any resistance, but that Koreans are burnt with the vengeful thoughts without referring to the current active exchanges with Japan at all,¡± said Song Sung-Wook, who found the Travelocity site.

There are also many sites that carry updated information about the president and prime minister. A Korean studies site at Buckley University in the United States still shows that the incumbent president of Korea is former President Kim Young-Sam. The CIA site records the incumbent prime minister is Park Tae-Joon.

The Internet bookstore Amazon (www.amazon.com), erroneously displays the surname of President Kim Dae-Jung as Dim instead of Kim.

¡°If we find errors, we ask the site operators to correct them by sending e-mails of data for evidence, but it seems that the wrong descriptions are not corrected as easily as we would think,¡± VANK operator Park Ki-Tae said. ¡°Once incorrect information is corrected promptly at the present time when the publicity through the Internet has increasingly become important, we will be able to let world netizens know of Korea accurately.¡±

Cheon Kwang-Am iam@donga.com