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Government Says No to “Daemado Day”

Posted March. 20, 2005 22:07,   


On March 19, the government requested the Masan City Council to nullify its “Daemado Day” bill, which it had approved the day before.

On that day, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Lee Kyu-hyung warned in a commentary, saying, “We understand the patriotism behind the ‘Daemado Day’ bill. Still, this kind of act never helps protect Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo. People need to refrain from provocative activities because they might stir unnecessary controversies.”

Spokesperson Lee continued, explaining, “The government’s policy on Dokdo is to protect a territory that historically, geographically, and legally belongs to Korea. The authorities should employ a pragmatic, calm and poised approach to the dispute.”

The government is reported to be worried that if the Masan City Council’s approval of the bill should become another point of contention; the whole Dokdo issue might turn into a sort of political comedy.

What lies behind the Korean government’s request to withdraw the “Daemado Day” bill is the intention of displaying its responsible attitude. On the other hand, Japan’s central government has turned a blind eye to the passage of the “Takeshima (Japanese name for Dokdo) Day” bill, dismissing it as the local council’s affair.

In response to the “Takeshima Day” bill, the city council in Masan passed a bill that designates June 19 as the “Daemado Day.” General Lee Jong-moo, a figure in the early Joseon dynasty, left Masanpo to go on a military expedition to Daemado on June 19 centuries ago.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com