Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dokdo beautiful island of Korea

Few could have named it better.

The number of Koreans visiting Dokdo has been sharply rising recently, reflecting the controversy surrounding the islets. One such visitor gazes at one of their two peaks. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul

Dokdo means “Sole Islet” or “Solitary Island” in Korean. Of course the nation has at least 3,000 more islands, but the lonely pair of volcanic outcroppings in the East Sea are the only ones still suffering from the diffidence of an unrepentant neighbor to the east.

It also is a sad reminder of Northeast Asia going a century back while the rest of the world is busy moving forward. A former aggressor’s self-denial is turning three economic powers into three bumbling incompetents.

This turns our attention inward and the ongoing presidential elections: Which of the three major candidates will do the best job to put an end to this consumptive and abrasive diplomatic war-of-nerves and bring back trilateral harmony and progress in this part of the world? He or she must be rational but resolute, not emotional and impulsive like the incumbent.

A survey The Korea Times conducted on the occasion of its 62nd birthday, however, showed that voters’ confidence in the candidates’ ability in national security and diplomacy hovers at around 40 percent at best.

Again, they will likely have to remain content as long as the leaders don’t repeat the mistakes of using diplomacy for domestic political gains, as the current leaders of Korea and Japan are doing.

Media outlets are not much freer from the blame for fanning, rather than subduing, their shortsighted, parochial maneuverings. This paper, as the bridge between Korea and the world, has been trying its best to remain objective and neutral, but, we must confess, not always successfully.

We will continue to criticize both Korean and foreign leaders, based not on blind nationalism but on the newspapers’ first and foremost mission ― seeking and delivering facts, including historical ones.

And all such facts say that Dokdo is our island, our territory.


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