‘Dokdo is not a disputed territory’
At a seminar hosted by American think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Nov. 12, a website providing maritime information on the Asia-Pacific region called the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) was introduced. A Korean media outlet reported that Dokdo was marked red, which indicates a disputed territory. The news that CSIS posted the video, including a map that lists Dokdo as disputed, led to controversy in Korea and abroad.
The JoongAng Ilbo asked the CSIS what its official position was on the Dokdo islands to help the readers understand the issue. CSIS CEO John Hamre emailed a response. The following is the full text of the email.
“On November 13, Korea’s leading news agency carried an article saying, ‘CSIS portrays Dokdo as disputed territory.’ I am afraid the author may have misunderstood what he was seeing. Let me explain. CSIS has created a new website called ‘Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative,’ or AMTI. The purpose of AMTI is to provide an authoritative source of information for journalists, policy experts, academics and the general public on the many controversies that exist in Asia concerning maritime issues. The website very explicitly says that CSIS understands the controversies in the region. We decided to use the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Geographical Names as the convention for naming all territories in the region. There are hundreds of naming disputes and issues in Asia. CSIS can’t become the arbiter of truth on history. So we chose to use the naming convention formally recognized by the United States government - the Liancourt Rocks.
“CSIS does not portray Dokdo as disputed territory - the United States Government does. CSIS identified Dokdo as a ‘hot spot,’ not a disputed territory. The CSIS AMTI website specifically acknowledges that Korea has territorial control over Dokdo and the United States Government recognizes that.
“Please go to the website (http://amti.csis.org/) and you will also find the Government of Korea’s formal policy statement and documents concerning Dokdo.
“Citizens of the world will see exactly what Korea says about Dokdo.
“We occasionally confront this problem when there is a misunderstanding of our work. We invite you to visit the AMTI website.”
The author is the Washington correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.
JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 18, Page 33
by CHAE BYUNG-GUN