Don’t send in Marines

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Don’t send in Marines

The government and the Grand National Party held a joint meeting Sunday and presented measures to turn Dokdo into inhabited islets in the wake of Japan’s renewed territorial claim.

Several ideas were mentioned, such as building a large vessel to oversee Dokdo, conducting studies on the ecosystem of the islets and on fishing and ocean resources, building a village and an activity park, building an oceanic research center, building living quarters for fishermen, dispatching Marines, building a hotel in the ocean and forming a research group for minerals from the ocean bed.

Many of these ideas, which were discussed under the former administration, are not feasible or responsible, such as the suggestion to dispatch Marines.

The GNP suggested the idea, saying that it was aimed at protecting our territory, but the plan doesn’t make sense. It would look like this is a serious territorial dispute, a matter that should be dealt with by the police not the Marines. Japan would favor the Marines option.

Building a hotel on the ocean is also a bad idea. Dokdo is situated in a delicate oceanic ecosystem.

Clearly, some of these plans were presented without much consideration.

Some politicians argue that we should claim the ownership of Tsushima, a Japanese island in the sea between Busan, Korea, and Fukuoka, Japan. Some other politicians argue that the space between the two main islets of Dokdo should be reclaimed with concrete. Both these suggestions are truly ridiculous.

Some argue that we should abolish the Korea-Japan fishing agreement and that local governments should cancel cultural exchanges with Japan.

These are not good moves, either. It is impossible to exclude Japan in all sectors. Exchanges and cooperation with Japan in the private sector must be continued despite the Dokdo issue.

It is understandable that the government makes Japan see that it stands to lose more than it gains in this issue. It is natural that the government presents measures for that purpose.

But the country must not react emotionally because the general public is enraged. In this sense, it is good that President Lee Myung-bak said we should respond from a long-term perspective.

It is wrong to ignore public opinion, but the government must not be hasty in order to please the public. That is not a responsible act but a populist move.

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