[Bronze Prize Winners] Islets Belong to Korea
By Dina Mahmoud ali mousa
CAIRO, Egypt ― East Asian history indisputably backs up Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo islands in the East Sea. What's more, Japan's erroneous claim on these territories represents a distortion of the long-standing truth.
And Korea has long had full control over Dokdo since the end of the World War II. Based on its legal rights over the islets, South Korea has stationed a garrison and deployed patrol boats and other ships ― with a mission to guard Korea's eastern territorial sea. Korea has also adopted measures to preserve its natural environment.
Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo is complete, both de jure and de facto. Korea's territorial rights cannot be shaken by any unfounded foreign claims.
Dokdo is not and cannot be an object of territorial dispute. Japan's claim never had legitimacy.
Currently, Korean maritime police officers are guarding the islets, while police and naval vessels are patrolling around them as part of the effort to beef up existing patrol of the region and reinforce and demonstrate Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo.
The Korean government has also drawn up various contingency plans. They will be followed by concrete steps to reinforce security in these seas and skies over the islets.
Even without these steps, it should be clear to everyone that numerous ancient documents prove Dokdo islands have been part of Korea throughout history.
An official Japanese map from 1785, for example, indicates Dokdo to be Korean territory.
After World War II and the liberation of Korea from Japan, Dokdo arose as a major point of contention between Japan and South Korea. Japan has wrongly asserted that South Korea's occupation of Dokdo is illegal because Japan was the first to lay claim on the islets in 1905 when the islets were terra nullius (claimed by no one).
South Korea has responded with ancient documents from as early as 512 A.D. that refer to the islets as Korean. There are also Japanese records that acknowledge Dokdo's status as part of Korean territory.
Unfortunately, the Japanese government and the media continue to perpetrate their claim. The controversy fed into Japan's anti-Korean sentiments. Some Japanese people even criticized their government for failing to adopt a more aggressive approach.
But according to records from both countries, Dokdo is 100-percent Korean territory. Japanese scholars know this. Korea needs to have firm measures regarding problems of Dokdo and also the issue of Korean comfort women. In particular, Japan's expansionism policies must be checked.
In conclusion, Dokdo islands indisputably belong to Korea. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Numerous ancient documents show that Dokdo has been part of Korea, at least since 512 A.D.
- French geographer Danvil in 1737 indicated Dokdo as a Korean territory in his ``complete map of Joseon Kingdom."
- Ancient Japanese documents and maps recorded that Dokdo was Korean territory. Documents reveal that at the end of the 17th century Japanese authorities also confirmed Dokdo as Korean.
- In the 19th century, Japan's Meiji government issued an official document confirming that Dokdo and Ulleungdo Islands belonged to Korea.
- At the end of 19th century, Korea's Joseon Kingdom regarded in its documents Dokdo as the Korean territory.
- In 1900, Joseon, in the royal order No. 41, proclaimed that Dokdo is a Korean territory.
- Japan occupied Dokdo in 1905 by force.
- The Allied Powers proclaimed a military order to return Dokdo to Korea in January 1946.
- A United Nations pronouncement following the World War II had included Dokdo as part of Korean territory.
- According to the agreement of territorial arrangement of Japan, issued by Allied Powers after the end of the World War II, ``Dokdo is Korean territory."
The writer is a recent business school graduate. She lives in Cairo, Egypt.