Korea: Lawmaker Urges More Foreign Language Service for Dokdo

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 16:48:39 UTC 2008

Lawmaker Urges More Foreign Language Service for Dokdo

Rep. Gong Sung-jin
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Staff Reporte

A ruling party lawmaker Monday blamed the foreign ministry for its
negligence in offering foreign language services on the Dokdo web
page. A lack of foreign language services partly contributed to a poor
awareness in the international community on the ownership of the
territory, said Rep. Gong Sung-jin of the Grand National Party (GNP).
``This is in contrast to that of the Japanese foreign ministry which
offers the territory information in English, Korean as well as
Japanese to make a case for the government's claim,'' he said during
an interpellation session at the National Assembly.

Lawmakers criticized the government for its ineffective foreign policy
responses to Pyongyang and Tokyo after a North Korean soldier shot
dead a South Korean tourist during a tour to Mt. Geumgang, and Japan
described Dokdo islets as its territory, respectively.  Despite the
rare joined voices, there is a deep gap in their interpretations of
the causes of the two incidents. GNP legislators characterized the
killing of the tourist as an ``intended incident'' aimed at taming the
Lee Myung-bak government. Despite this definition of a planned
provocation, they claimed the Lee government should have prevented the
tragic incident.

Lawmakers of the largest opposition Democratic Party (DP), meanwhile,
said the root cause of the killing was Seoul's hard-line policy toward
Pyongyang, dubbed the ``MB Doctrine,'' a conditional engagement policy
in return for the North giving up its nuclear programs.

Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the GNP said that evidence supported the
killing was a ``planned provocation by the North.''

``With the incident, Pyongyang is sending a message to Seoul that
President Lee had better give in to the North,'' Yoon defined.

GNP lawmaker Gong supported the argument, saying Pyongyang endeavored
to tame and jeopardize the Lee administration to make inter-Korean
relations proceed in a manner it wishes.

``The killing occurred when Washington-Pyongyang relations are going
well after the North destroyed its nuclear cooling tower and President
George W. Bush announced a plan to remove North Korea from a list of
countries sponsoring terrorism,'' the lawmaker said. ``Given the
environment, my theory is that the North might calculate its possible
provocation would not have a significant impact on its smooth sailing
with Washington, although it could take a toll on South-North

Gong also called Japan's description of Dokdo as part of its territory
``a right-wing plot to invade the South Korean islets.''

Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan answered the government has launched
what he called ``quiet diplomacy'' on the territory matter and said a
non-profit foundation established under the education ministry was
responsible for the management of the Web site.

DP lawmaker Kim Boo-kyum pointed his finger at the MB doctrine as a
fundamental cause of the killing of the tourist.

``The doctrine calls for economic assistance to the North in return
for its dismantling all nuclear programs. From Pyongyang's
perspective, this initiative is seen as a provocative policy aiming to
absorb North Korea,'' Kim said. ``Who is going to accept a proposal
that will require it to give up sovereignty in return for economic

Another DP lawmaker Choi Young-hee said President Lee's foreign policy
has come under fire for what she called its unprepared and
merchant-like diplomacy.

hkang at koreatimes.co.kr


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