Posted : 2013-01-09 18:42
Updated : 2013-01-09 18:42

Stop Dokdo ads!

Prof. Seo Kyoung-duk, left, and singer Kim Jang-hoon

By Chung Min-uck

An advertisement that claims sovereignty of the easternmost islets of Dokdo was published on the main page of the Wall Street Journal's online edition, Wednesday.

The ad has two reversible titles ― "Error in Google?" and "Error in Apple?" ― and when readers click it they see a map that writes "Dokdo" and "East Sea" on the body of water separating Korea and Japan.

At the bottom of the ad is the internet address, a website that explains why the islets are Korean territory and why the currently used name of "Sea of Japan" is wrong.

According to Seo Kyoung-duk, a Sungshin Women's University professor, and singer Kim Jang-hoon, who launched the ad, the move intends to "stir up world public opinion" that global companies, such as Google and Apple, are miswriting the names of the islets and the sea.

The ad is slated to be published for two weeks.

Despite their good intention of refuting Japan's unjustified claims that dates back to the colonial period (1910-1945), many worry of an adverse effect.

First of all, the rocky outcroppings are already effectively controlled by Seoul with a small police force detached there. In this regard, Japan can only protest Korea's sovereignty with no materialized effect. Under international law, Japan cannot unilaterally introduce a territorial claim before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Also, what should be understood is that Dokdo is a territorial issue that should be dealt from a strictly legal point of view. Currently, Korea officially sticks to the point that there is no legal dispute between Korea and Japan.

Publishing ads that claim Korea's territorial rights can only give the outside world the impression that the islets are being disputed by the two nations, an impression that Tokyo seeks to create.

"The attitude that the territorial issue should be resolved via advertisements is amateurish," said Kim Hyun-soo, a professor at Inha University Law School. "The East Sea naming is an issue with no practical benefit that entirely relates to Koreans' resentment toward Japan's imperialism. So it is okay to approach it in terms of public opinion like publishing ads."

"But regarding Dokdo it is different. Seo and Kim are actually helping the Japanese in turning the area into a disputed one. They have contributed a lot in doing this."

If Dokdo becomes defined as a disputed area, it would bring about a negative impact on Korea's claim to sovereignty of the islets, as it can draw the international community's intervention for a peaceful resolution. The ways of peaceful resolution surely includes ICJ submission.

To make matters worse, the National Assembly lately approved the Foreign Ministry's 6.5 billion won budget bill allotted for Dokdo-related advertisements in 2013.

It will mark Korea's first government-backed PR campaign of the islets. The ministry plans to produce posters and television commercials and distribute them to media outlets at home and abroad.

관련 한글 기사

애플, 구글의 오류

가수 김장훈씨와 서경덕 성신여대 교수는 9일 구글과 애플의 “Sea of Japan(일본해)” 표기에 항의하는 광고를 월스트리트저널 인터넷 판에 게재했으나 그 실효성 여부가 논란이 되고 있다.

'Error in Apple?(애플의 오류)'과 'Error in Google?(구글의 오류)'이라는 제목의 이 광고는 홈페이지 초기화면 우측 중앙에 이날부터 2주 동안 20만 번 노출될 예정이다. 

이 광고에서 빨강으로 도드라진 'Click(클릭)' 표시를 누르면 한국과 일본 사이의 바다 이름을 'EAST SEA(동해)'라고 선명하게 표기한 지도가 떠오른다.

지도에는 독도의 영문 명칭(Dokdo)도 표기되어 있다.
광고 하단에는 한국의 독도 영유권 주장, 동해 문제 등 자료를 영문으로 소개하는 한국사 홍보 웹사이트 '다음 세대를 위해('도 홍보하고 있다.

“일본해” 표기의 부당성 주장은 차치하더라도 영유권 광고의 경우 자칫 국제사회에서 독도가 분쟁 지역이라고 인식 돼 일본 측이 줄 곧 주장해 온 국제사법재판소(ICJ)에서의 담판에 일조하는 것이라는 비판이 있다.

ICJ 제소를 위해서는 당사국간 공동의 동의가 필요하다.

김현수 인하대학교 로스쿨 교수는 '광고를 통해서 영토문제를 해결하려는 자세는 지극히 아마추어적”이라며 “김씨와 서씨가 독도를 분쟁 지역화하는 데 크게 기여했다”고 비판했다.

김 교수는 또 “아무리 한국이 일본의 ICJ 제소에 응하지 않더라도 독도가 분쟁 지역으로 인식될 경우 유엔은 분쟁을 평화적으로 해결하라고 권고할 것”이며 이 권고에는 물론 “재판”을 포함한다고 말했다.

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