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Who Dares to Take Dokdo From Us?

Posted March. 15, 2005 22:22,   


Faced with Japan’s continuous violations of Korea’s “sovereignty” and “history”, the government has begun an overall review of its basic stance in relations with Japan under the judgment that it can no longer maintain its method of “silent diplomacy.”

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Jong-min stated in a regular press briefing on March 15 that “the administration will announce its principles and stance towards its relations with Japan within two or three days. There will be a clear, principled expression of our stance from the government.”

In relation to this announcement, a high official firmly stated, “Because Japan is not complying with this government’s courtesy and goodwill in asking Japan to ‘resolve the history issue voluntarily,’ we must be clear and firm this time. Japan’s attitude has exceeded the limit that can be tolerated by this government.”

The government is set to announce its stance around March 17 after comprehensive discussions among relevant departments such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the National Security Council. It is very unusual for Cheong Wa Dae to directly mention and take action in Korea-Japan relations.

The new principle in bilateral relations is expected to be that Korea will cooperate in issues that need cooperation, but firmly point out things that need to be pointed out, and “have our say.”

A consensus has been reached within the government that while Korea has suggested future-oriented measures such as opening its doors to Japanese pop culture, allowing the use of the title “the Emperor,” and refraining from mentioning historic issues, Japan has continued to provoke Koreans by distorting its history, encroaching upon Korea’s national territory, and by it leaders continuing to pay tribute to war criminals at the Yasukuni shrine.

At a cabinet meeting today at the Central Government Complex, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon said, “We will take measures that will maintain friendly relations between the two nations, but give Japan a more correct perception on sovereignty and history issues.”

Meanwhile, North Gyeongsang Province, which has jurisdiction over Dokdo, is planning to sever its sister ties with Shimane Prefecture and suspend exchanges between the province’s Gyeongdo University and the prefecture’s Shimane University the moment the prefectural council passes the “Takeshima (Japan’s name for Dokdo) Day” establishment bill in its plenary session on March 16.

The ruling and opposition parties have agreed to deal with the Dokdo issue and the distortions of history in Japanese textbooks in a bipartisan manner, and to form a special committee within the National Assembly on this matter.

Jung-Hun Kim Jong-Koo Yoon jnghn@donga.com jkmas@donga.com