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“Sincere Relations between ROK and Japan Will be Difficult without Solving the Dokdo Issue”

“Sincere Relations between ROK and Japan Will be Difficult without Solving the Dokdo Issue”

Posted March. 30, 2005 23:10,   


Ban Ki-moon, minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, regarding the remarks of Japanese Education Minister Nariaki Nakayama on the issue of Dokdo on March 30, said, “The Korean government is deeply doubtful of and regrets his comment, and desires to ask him whether he has actually reflected on Japan’s past wrongdoings and even thought of the future relationship between South Korea and Japan as the minister in charge of the textbooks authorization division.”

In a regular press briefing for local and foreign correspondents held in the Foreign Ministry building in Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul on the day, Minister Ban said, “The Korean government firmly opposes Japan’s describing of Dokdo in its ‘Teaching Methods,’ which provides the criteria for writing textbooks, as its territory.”

Ban stated, “It is anachronistic thinking and logic to beautify Japan’s colonial rule by trying to teach to growing students that Dokdo, which was illegally incorporated into Japan’s territory in the process of colonizing the Korean Peninsula, is Japan’s territory,” and stressed, “The Korean government has adopted a stance that we cannot have a real relationship between the two countries without solving the matters of Dokdo dominion and the distortion of the history textbooks.”

Despite the NSC (National Security Council)’s statement toward Japan on March 17 and President Roh’s remarks on March 23, the Korean government has kept an eye on the fact that ahead of the completion of the history textbooks screening (April 5), this comment reappeared. Prior to this, on March 29 Nakayama insisted that Dokdo and Senkaku Island (Diaoyutai Island for China) should be described in “Teaching Methods” as Japan’s territory.

The Korean government is planning to set up “The Right History Establishment Commission for the Northeast Asia’s Peace” under the president’s control to counter systematically the issues of Dokdo and the distortion of the history textbooks.

The commission, which is slated to launch next month, comprises about 30 members from division-related officials as well as private experts, including the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and is expected to be developed into a permanent organization in the near future. The commission will be expected to set up divisions, including teams for countermeasures of history, Dokdo, and a team in charge of law. Kim Byung-joon, chief of the Presidential Policy Office, has been informally designated as the director of the commission, and Cho Joong-pyo, a home-based ambassador in charge of Overseas Koreans’ Affairs, as the vice director.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com