[Letters] Finding allies in Dokdo debate

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[Letters] Finding allies in Dokdo debate

The film begins with a crossword puzzle which links the names of islands and the countries they belong to. There’s Hawaii and the United States; Sicily and Italy; Bali and Indonesia; and Dokdo and Korea. The video ends with the message “Visit Dokdo, the beautiful island of Korea.”

This video is played 48 times a day, up on a billboard in Times Square in New York City, or “the crossroads of the world”

While reading an article about this 30-second video advertisement titled “Dokdo is Part of Korea,” I could not help but feel proud of the people who have carried out a project that most South Koreans would die to be a part of: proclaiming the truth about South Korea’s sovereignty over the Dokdo islets in the middle of the world.

But then, I found another article that dealt with the adverse effects of Dokdo ads. By the time I was through with it, I had one thing in my mind. We need allies.

When you want an idea of yours approved by someone, a third person’s confirmation is often the most influential element. In terms of asserting South Korea’s rights to the islets, most don’t realize that we Koreans trying to convince the world ourselves is not enough. Even if we have all the historical evidence needed to prove our claims correct, if we don’t have enough non-Koreans to back us up, all of our efforts could turn into dust the moment Japan’s assertions are approved by the international community. Japan’s smart moves behind closed doors and our clumsy moves out in the open can make this nightmare become a reality. So what must we do to get these allies?

Lobby. We should communicate with non-Korean professors, scholars, researchers and university students who make world-renowned maps and textbooks, and with those who hold the key to crucial museums. We should talk to journalists and other powerful figures in the media and also the strong figures in the international court and show them that the Dokdo islets are indeed our property. When these eminent figures find out for themselves what the truth is, and they acknowledge it, we can finally win this battle.

Experts say that Dokdo ads may only result in highlighting the islets as an area of international territorial dispute. Instead of pouring our money, time and efforts into things that may only encourage more people to turn their backs on us, we should focus on lobbying.

In a world where everyone is so interconnected, it’s all about who your allies are, about who’s got your back. Japan had realized this a long, long time ago and we have had to concede to Japan and give up on what is ours a number of times. We can’t give up on Dokdo. It’s time we showed the world that Japan’s illegal lobbying won’t work this time.


Woo Hyo-eun,

a Seoul Global High School student

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