[NETIZENS’ VOICE]Korean diplomacy must grow up

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[NETIZENS’ VOICE]Korean diplomacy must grow up

Since Japan announced that its exploration vessel was headed for Dokdo Islet, President Roh Moo-hyun has repeatedly made hard-line remarks, including a suggestion that quiet diplomacy should end. In the news was a report that a maritime patrol plane and 18 patrol ships will be stationed on Dokdo to confront the Japanese vessel; the cost of that operation alone would be more than 10 billion won.
Hearing the news, I thought: How pathetic. Is this matter too hard to solve through quiet diplomacy? Do we need that many patrol ships to capture one unarmed exploration vessel? Even so, did the authorities need to trouble the whole country? Moreover, does it make sense that a country's intelligence and diplomatic skills are only up to this level? These are the thoughts that crossed my mind.
I even feel skeptical whether the Roh Administration is considering this issue as seriously as its officials say. I am suspicious that the government is rather enjoying the matter. At a time when the governing party is expected to lose in the May 31 local elections, they seem glad that an issue has come up that can get the nation exercised emotionally and be beneficial to them.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi ordered his officials to handle this matter calmly. However, this doesn't seem like a request addressed to the Japanese officials. It seems like a remark intended for Korea, laughing at our government, which is not calm, with amusement added from stirring up the Koreans.
What is it the Japanese want? Is the goal to see what the sea under the Dokdo Islet looks like? Couldn’t they have expected that it would not be welcomed by the Korean government? That’s not it. What Japan really wants is to make the Dokdo Islets a disputed area. By sending an exploration vessel they want to stir up Korea and make other countries recognize that the Dokdo Islets are a disputed area.
Actually, this incident reveals that the Roh administration’s foreign diplomacy has a problem. Since his administration took over, Korea has become internationally isolated. Stirring up an ally and damaging our national interests to push for votes in elections or the president posting criticism of another country on the Internet is a farce.
Growling at America because of its crush on China is also hard to understand. Since we are exhibiting this kind of diplomacy, Japan is acting likewise. How ridiculous and petty does Korea look to be provoked this way? Thinking about it leaves a bitter taste.
Let’s forget about the amateur diplomacy that in the past gave rise to this matter. Right now, Korea’s reaction to a Japanese exploration vessel invading Korea’s territory gives reason to reconsider. Is this matter hard to deal with through quiet diplomacy? No, it is not.
It will do Korea no good if President Roh overreacts on this matter. It is right to request the media and the press to calm down. Quietly ordering the maritime police to block the exploration ship from invading Korean territory and then ordering its capture when it refuses to leave is the right thing to do. Sending back the crew members would be enough to tell Japan, “Do not do this again.” There is even no need to refer to the Dokdo Islets. Just mentioning the exclusive economic zone would be enough. However, the government seems like it has no intention to act this way. That is the bigger problem.

by Park Yong-suk
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