Assembly raises budget to promote Dokdo claim

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Assembly raises budget to promote Dokdo claim

Korea’s parliament approved a sharply increased budget to guard against Japan’s claims over Dokdo, its easternmost islets, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said yesterday.

The decision came as diplomatic tensions with Japan remain high following Tokyo’s continuing claims to Dokdo.

The Foreign Ministry said the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification committee gave the green light to setting aside a budget of 6.22 billion won ($5.72 million) for 2013 for a global public relations campaign.

The budget is 2 billion won more than what the Foreign Ministry proposed for 2013 and about three times more than the 2.32 billion won earmarked for this year.

The Dokdo budget needs final approval from the parliament’s budget committee as well as a plenary session.

In its 2013 budget proposal, the Foreign Ministry originally sought 4.22 billion won to be used primarily to increase awareness of Korea’s sovereign control of Dokdo worldwide.

After reviewing the budget request, however, a group of lawmakers at the National Assembly’s committee for foreign affairs advised the government to raise the budget for Dokdo.

The lawmakers recommended that the government build better foreign-language Web sites for Dokdo and strengthen its network with foreign experts on international law, the official said on the condition of anonymity.

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