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2017-11-08 17:57
By Kwon Yule-jung



According to very recent reports, two Japanese prefectures, Saitama and Shimane, published student textbooks that claim Japan has sovereignty over Dokdo. Such habitual encroachments to the sovereignty of the group of islets and islands are not strange to Koreans at all. Japanese authorities, both at the government and otherwise, used to threaten the area with force and justify to the international community without considering the Korean perspective. I have come to understand why they are adamant to claim sovereignty over the islets and islands.

 I was lucky to have been to Ulleung Island and the Easternmost Island in Dokdo, for the first time. I boarded a ferry to Ulleung Island at the Pohang Passenger Ship Terminal. During the three-and-half hour trip, no islet or island can be seen on the East Sea, only a horizontal line from afar, while with a smattering of islets and islands can be seen on the West Sea. Just before I arrived at Jeodong Port on Ulleung Island, I felt thankful for the presence of the island surrounded by with deep sea.

 I attended the opening ceremony of the Dokdo Volunteer Forces Memorial Hall on Friday, Oct. 27; the hall was built for the 33 heroes who defended the area with their bare hands during the turbulent times of the early 1950s. Without their selfless dedication, patriotic spirit and unwavering commitment to the area’s formidable defense, the islets and islands would have gone to Japan.

 The next day, I was expected to make a trip to the two large islands, called East and West, unless a storm or inclement weather does not permit me to. My high expectations for the valuable trip made it difficult for me to sleep well that night. My dream in the visit to the islands came true. I traveled with many other passengers at 6:30 a.m. on board by the ship Dokdo Peace. It took two and half hours to arrive to the islands, which are 87.4 kilometers from the county of Ulleung. The two large islands, East and West, are familiar to me because from photos and TV screens. However, my firsthand experience of touching rocks and seeing the three engraved characters that read “Korean Territory” during the 50 limited minutes strengthened my commitment to our precious territory and my love for the islets and islands.

 The area is composed of the two large islands and 89 small islets and is famous for its abundant marine resources. The moment I arrived on the islands, I thought Japan might have been envious of this area, in their greed of territorial aggrandizement.

The islands and islets are currently defended by police guards. No matter how hard Japan tries to govern the area, we should not let it take advantage by ignoring its efforts. Through our country’s effective control of the islands and islets, we express our thanks to the 33 heroes’ great contribution to their defense.

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