Published : 2012-08-10 09:44
Updated : 2012-08-15 09:53
Surprise move seen as reaffirming claim to islets; Japan protests strongly
President Lee Myung-bak visited Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo on Friday in an apparent bid to reassert the country’s control over the windswept outcrops that Japan has claimed for decades.
Lee landed on Dokdo by helicopter at around 2 p.m. and took a long look around there. He stopped at nearby Ulleungdo earlier in the day.
“Dokdo is truly our territory worth protecting with our lives. Let’s protect this with pride,” Lee said after he was briefed by the guards.
President Lee Myung-bak visits Dokdo on Friday. (The Korea Herald)
During the 70-minute visit, Lee paid his respects at the monument commemorating those who lost their lives serving their duty in Dokdo and expressed gratitude to the islets’ only two civilian residents, Kim Seong-do and Kim Shin-il. After looking around the facilities, Lee shared fried chicken and pizza with the coast guards.
The environment and culture ministers accompanied Lee. Cheong Wa Dae said the plan was aimed at stressing the conservation of the ecologically important islands, cautioning against “overanalyzing.”
“There should be nothing abnormal in a national leader’s visit to a place that is our territory,” an official said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
President Lee Myung-bak(right) is briefed by a police officer on Dokdo on Friday. (The Korea Herald)
President Lee Myung-bak(sixth from right) looks at taegeukgi, the national flag of Korea, on Dokdo on Friday. (The Korea Herald)
By Shin Hyon-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org)