For Protection of Sovereignty
For Protection of Sovereignty
  • Reporter Lee Sang-min
  • 승인 2010.03.24 10:05
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Exploration Training of the Dokdo Academy Attendees

A dark and cold midnight of Feb. 28, it was in downtown Seoul where the Dokdo Academy expedition met. The 117 students who applied to be Dokdo Academy attendees were preparing itinerary for visiting Dokdo. Riding on our buses, we headed toward the East Sea. There is no nonstop ship to Dokdo, so we first approached Ulleungdo. At 3:30 pm, 15 hours having passed from the beginning, there appeared two tiny islets.

Dokdo, the easternmost islet of Korea, has been a part of Korean territory from more than 1000 years ago. It had several ancient names like Usando and Songdo. Researchers predict that an amount of methane hydrate, expected to be a future energy resource is buried around Dokdo. In addition, by occupying Dokdo, a border line of the sea can be expanded for hundreds of nautical miles. Furthermore, the basic surroundings of Dokdo are excellent fisheries. Conflicts between South Korea and Japan over the sovereignty of Dokdo have risen for these reasons. (See below for more information about the dispute.)

To deal with this, the Dokdo Academy was founded in 2007 to educate university students to be logically armed for the dispute and to learn the right facts about our meaningful territory. The president of the academy, Prof. Koh Chang Keun of Kyung Hee University said, “A nationwide education of what Dokdo is and why Dokdo is ours is important as well as foreign maneuvers along the dispute.”

Prof. Koh continued, “Japan has taught its students incorrect sovereignty and reasons for that. Japanese students will oppose against us when they become adults. We need to execute measures; academy attendees with certificates can be available to teach young students about Dokdo. There are sufficient scholars in the academy.”

He concluded, “Attendees will become the spearheads of theoretical education about Dokdo sovereignty.” Dokdo Academy has produced 11 classes, and more than a thousand alumni.

▲ Dokdo Academy attendees
The Dokdo Academy attendees had their matriculation ceremony on Nov. 14, 2009 and started to take lectures and plan activities in 20 groups composed of nearly 10 each. Each group conducted different activities, such as a guerilla campaign at libraries, distribution of pamphlets in English, and declaration of statements in front of the Japanese embassy. Before they headed for Dokdo for the last exploration, a performance was prepared which will be conducted in Dokdo that symbolizes our sovereignty.

▲ Korean B-boying performance in Dokdo
It was a cold day; the temperature fell below the freezing point even if it was nearly March.Tiny islet Dokdo was in the middle of the East Sea; a strong wind prevented us to move freely. Because a round-trip ship stopped at Dokdo only for a moment, photographing, the declaration and performance were quickly finished. Violent weather bothered us all day. After all this, returning ship from Ulleungdo to land could not leave port; we spent one day more.

At night, in lodges, a small party was held with one of the groups. They were all university students, but the personal atmosphere was quite different. Being from many kinds of origins and majors, individual characteristics were remarkable. Now they will spread into all directions of society and pass on what they saw, and what they learned. The future of the sovereignty of Dokdo is bright.