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S. Korea should be aggressive over Dokdo issue: scholar

  The South Korean government needs to be more active and logical in defending its sovereignty over Dokdo against Japan's continued claims to the rocky islets in the East Sea, a Japanese-born scholar said Friday.

   Yuji Hosaka, professor of Japanese Studies at Sejong University in Seoul, questioned the effectiveness of Seoul's so-called quiet diplomacy on the Dokdo issue aimed at blocking it from evolving into an international dispute.

   South Korea effectively controls Dokdo and hopes to maintain the status quo, while Japan has become increasingly vocal in laying claim to the islets.

   Late last month, Tokyo approved a set of new middle school textbooks that clearly describes Dokdo as Japanese territory, reigniting furor among South Koreans.

   "Japan takes an approach toward the Dokdo issue with a 'strategic nationalism' mobilizing all logic and education. On the other hand, the South Korean government is ignoring the power of logic," the professor said at a forum here.

   Hosaka, a Japanese-born naturalized Korean, has spent many years studying the Dokdo issue and authored several books on it.

   He expressed concern that the world may begin to pay attention to Japan's claim while South Korea sticks to a passive stance.

   "(The South Korean government) should make the world take its side and even Japanese students think South Korea's logic is right through lessons," he added. "To that end, South Korea should put forward overwhelming logic."

   Seoul maintains a small police unit on Dokdo as a show of its effective control. On Thursday, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik told the National Assembly that South Korea may consider deploying military troops there if necessary.

(Yonhap News)

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