Posted by: rbbadger | July 16, 2008

독도는 우리 땅! (Or, fanning the flames of Korean Nationalism)

Once again, controversy over some small, mostly unihabited islands has erupted.  For quite some time, the Korean government has been engaged in a major dispute with Japan over what the body of water between the Korean peninsula and the Japanese archipegalo should be called.  Japan is quite happy to have everyone call it the Sea of Japan.  The Korean government, however, insists that it should be called what they have always called it, namely the East Sea (동해). 

In the East Sea, there are a series of very small islands, mostly uninhabited.  Dokdo, as they are known, is currently inhabited only by a few fishermen and some policemen.  However, Korea and Japan both have laid claim to them and Dokdo has served as a rallying cry against any and all Japanese incursions.  Especially during the presidential administration of Roh Moo-hyun (盧武鉉), the issues of the East Sea and Dokdo were pushed to the forefront.

The Japanese government has decided to once again teach its students that Dokdo is a part of Japanese territory and that its proper name is Takeshima.  This has brought about a major international spat.  The ambassador to Japan was recalled by the president, Lee Myeong-bak (李明博).  The Korean Ambassador read the riot act to the Vice-Premier of Japan and protests, complete with flag burnings, have now taken place in front of the Japanese Embassy.

You can read more about this here: http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2892373

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