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Korea to Raise Dokdo Dispute at U.S. Summit

Posted July. 31, 2008 08:48,   


President Lee Myung-bak plans to raise the U.S. change to the status of the Dokdo islets in his summit talks with U.S. President George W. Bush in Seoul Aug. 6.

A source at the presidential office in Seoul said yesterday, “The U.S. government said it understands our stance. Unless the U.S. releases clear and understandable measures via relevant authorities such as the Board on Geographic Names, the issue over the islets can be raised at the talks.”

“Raising the issue does not necessarily mean putting the issue on the summit agenda. It remains to be seen whether the two leaders will mention the issue in their joint declaration.”

Another source at the presidential office said, “It is early to discuss how seriously we will talk about the issue. It will be decided whether to put the Dokdo issue on the agenda and how seriously to deal it as early as this weekend.”

A diplomatic official said, “The U.S. government decided to categorize 50 areas under territorial dispute as ‘undesignated sovereignty’ in January last year. The U.S. thinks its decision and subsequent alteration of Dokdo’s status have fueled unexpected criticism. Washington is highly likely to abolish its categorization program under which 50 areas are described ‘undesignated sovereignty.’”

“After watching recent disputes over its description of Dokdo, the U.S. government is concerned that its categorization program could fuel further criticism when it describes other disputed areas including four northern islands under territorial dispute between Japan and Russia as ‘undesignated sovereignty.’ The U.S. can withdraw its decision over the near term.”

According to the Korean Embassy in Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill expressed understanding of Korea’s position. He also pledged to come up with appropriate measures Tuesday when asked by Korean Ambassador to the U.S. Lee Tae-shik to undo Dokdo’s status change.

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