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Dokdo revisited
Lee Wha Rang

Anti-Japanese sentiment has ebbed and flowed in Korea, but it is reaching a new height over the Dokdo Island dispute as Koreans across the globe are protesting Japan's latest step in its "awakened expansionism." Japan's renewed to claim to Dokdo is due in part to recent discovery of huge hydrocarbon deposits around the island and to the rising neo-Nazism in Japan fanned by extreme right-wingers in America. The timing cannot be any any worse - a mass movement to expose pro-Japanese Koreans has been going on in South Korea and Japan's claim to the island is adding fuel to the movement and not helping their stooges in Korea.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda has stated in a nationally televised Nihon news conference that Dokdo is clearly part of our territory from the viewpoint of history and international laws, and I find South Korea's action (to build a wh arf on the island) extremely regrettable.

DokdoDokdo is located at the Eastern extremity of Korea, belonging to Ullung-gun, North Kyongsang Province (Dokdo's longitude: 131' 52' 42").

This is not the first Korea-Japan row over the tiny island in the East Sea (Sea of Japan). During the reign of Rhee Syngman, S Korean navy vessels were dispatched to chase away Japanese intruders on the island. Rhee threatened to invade Japan - all ied with N Korea, if necessary. Today, some war-hawks in Korea are talking about invading Japan. The hawks should realize that the US military is obligated to protect Japan and that Japan is not quite the "defenseless" nation it pretends to be. She has a huge stockpile of weapons-grade nuclear material and advanced space rocket (missile) technology. In addition, Japan maintains large "self defense" forces that are comparable in strength to the ROKA.

What should Korea do about Dokdo? It is our island and we ought develop it in any ways we see fit. Will US support Korea or Japan? What will Japan do? We hope that Japan will offer an apology for Ikeda's statement and officially recognize Dokdo as pa rt of Korea once for all.
Is Dokdo legally Korean territory?

Japan's claim is based on a decree made by the Prefecture of Shimane in 1905, naming the islets as Takeshima. Howver, the Yi Royal Edict No. 41 was issued in 1900 specifying that Ullung-do County Chief is to administer Ullung-do and the two islets of Chuk-do and Suk-do (Dokdo today). In 1905, the Yi Kingdom was in no position to protest against Japan which annexed all of Korea five years later.

A Japanese government shows the two islands of Matsushima (Ullung-do) and Takeshima (Dokdo) designating them as Royal Choson (Korean) territory. The Japanese Government presented this official map to US in claiming the ownership of Ogasawara island in the Pacific at the end of World War II.

According to the Samguk Sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms), the two islands of Ullung-do and Dokdo were called Usanguk and were ruled by Isabu who paid tribute to Shilla Dynasty King Chijung (in 512 A.D.).

In 1693, when Korean fishermen led by An Yong-bok strongly protested against Japanese who were trying to poach in the sea around Ullung-do and Song-do (Dokdo), Japan's Tokugawa government sent an official letter in 1696, to the Chief of Tsushima not to d ispatch Japanese fishermen to the area, according to the Official Record of King Sukjong.

Beijing supports Korea's claim pointing out that Dokdo was a tributary to the Shilla Kingdom as far back as 512 A.D. and that Japan admitted as early as 1667 that Dokdo was a Korean territory.

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