[FOUNTAIN]What’s in a nameThe first amphibious landing ship of the Republic of Korea’s Navy is notably named “Dokdo.” When the name was announced at the ship’s launch in July 2005, Tokyo expressed its regret, only to be dismissed by Seoul.
A Landing Platform Experiment, or LPX, can not only transport troops and equipment, but also play the role of a flagship and lead a fleet. Therefore, the Korean Navy plans to name the second LPX “Marado” and the third, “Baekryeongdo.” The LPX ships are to be named after the islands located farthest in Korea’s waters to the east, south and west. The names reflect the Navy’s will to protect those territorial waters.
When the Navy names a newly built ship, a different naming system is used, according to the ship’s class. Submarines are named after historical admirals. They include Jang Bo-go, who had installed the Cheonghaejin garrison in the late Unified Silla period; Park Wi, who had repelled the Japanese pirates in the late Goryeo and early Joseon Dynasty, Choi Mu-seon, who developed explosive weapons to fight off the Japanese pirates.
Destroyers in the 3,800 ton class are named after the heroes of Goguryeo, such as King Gwanggaeto and General Euljimundeok. 5,000 ton class ships are named after Admiral Yi Sun-sin, King Munmu of the Silla Dynasty and Dae Jo-yeong, the founder of Balhae.
An Aegis destroyer armed with more than 100 missiles is named after civilians and contemporary figures. The first one is to be named “Ahn Yong-bok,” after a patriot who drove away Japanese pirates from Dokdo in the late 17th century and obtained an apology from a Japanese lord. The second one will use the name of sergeant Ji Deok-chil, who sacrificed his life to save fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War.
The name for the third aegis is attracting attention. It will be designated “Yun Yeong-ha,” after the late lieutenant commander who was killed in a naval crash near the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea on June 29, 2002. The name also reflects the Navy’s strong will to safeguard the NLL.
However, Pyongyang abruptly broke the promise to restore cross-border railways, arguing that no problem could be resolved properly unless more fundamental issues, such as a ban on sailing in the West Sea, are settled. The overriding observation is that Pyongyang wants to pressure to re-establish the NLL. However, Pyongyang needs to remember that the soul of the young Naval officer, who died to protect the NLL and whose name will be put on the 1 trillion won ($1 billion) Aegis destroyer, is watching from heaven.
by Chae In-taek
The writer is a deputy international news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.