Voyage to Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost territory

Korea’s Dokdo boasts untapped natural resources
and ample fishing waters,… not to mention natural beauty. Lee Ji-won takes us to the islets, which also
regained their independence on this Liberation Day. Dokdo Island — where Korea sees the first
morning light, and… where untold environmental resources await their use by the nation. This is Korea’s easternmost territory. To get there, we drove to Mukho Port, where
we boarded a ferry to Ulleungdo Island. From there, another vessel carried us to Dokdo. “After about five hours on one boat and then
another, we have finally disembarked on Korea’s easternmost island of Dokdo. Luckily the weather was nice and the waves
were calm enough for us to set sail.” Dokdo actually consists of two islets — Dong-do
and Seo-do. While the western islet, Seo-do, is not open
to visitors,… the eastern one, Dong-do, is,… and has been since 2005. Since then the number of visitors has risen
consistently. “We wanted to visit our country’s easternmost
territory. We also wanted to show our support for the
police guards who defend Dokdo from Japan.” Japan has claimed Dokdo for decades. In its annual defense white paper released
earlier this month, Japan once again describes the island as its sovereign territory,…
using the Japanese name “Takeshima,”… for a 12th straight year. But Dokdo has been Korean territory for 1,500-years,
though the earliest historical documents in existence date back 870-years. And Japan itself explained Korea’s sovereignty
over Dokdo… in a Japanese document from 1870… called the “Secret Mission Report
on Joseon,”… using an older name for Korea. It was only when Japan colonized Korea that
it took control of Korean territory — and Dokdo was no exception. After surrendering in World War II, Japan
returned Korea’s independence and the annexed islands… on this day, August 15th, 1945. Currently, there are some 40 police guards
from Gyeongbuk provincial police agency stationed on Dokdo. They greet visitors and ensure their safety,…
but most importantly, they protect the nation’s territorial integrity. But there is also a symbolic reason that Dokdo
is guarded by police, and not the military. “Regions involved in territorial disputes
and conflict are protected by soldiers. But Dokdo is not a region of dispute, it’s
Korean territory. So it’s guarded by us police, whose main duty
is to protect the safety and property of the public.” Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost island, is also
celebrating its 71st year of independence from Japan’s 35-years of colonial rule today,
on Liberation Day. Lee Ji-won, Arirang News, Dokdo Island, Korea.


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