Why is Dokdo important?
As the editorial of The Aug. 11-12 Korea Times stated, no matter what Japan says, Dokdo is part of our country. According to reports, President Lee Myung-bak’s surprise visit made Japan so angry that it summoned our ambassador to Japan and recalled its ambassador to Korea, saying Seoul-Tokyo relations would worsen in response to Lee’s Dokdo visit.
When Japan insists that Dokdo, called Takeshima in Japan, is part of its territory, few people will think of the importance of Dokdo and only reproach Japan. Although history teaches us that Dokdo is part of Korea, why does Japan still insist that Dokdo is its territory?
First, let's go back to 1994 when the U.N. ruled that a country can assign a sea area within 200 nautical miles of a nation as an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). From then, Japan insisted that its sea area can be calculated from Dokdo to secure many benefits including mineral resources and seafood.
Second, Japan is looking at Dokdo from a military perspective. The islets are located strategically, being close to Russia in the north, and Japan can contain China as well as Korea. Also the islets are located at the center of the maritime traffic that is connected with many port cities.
Lastly, Dokdo is valuable geologically. It is rare that the sea mount protuberates to the surface.
The conflict between Korea and Japan will continue owing to many other benefits. We Koreans should show keen interest in the issue.