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Asian editorial excerpts.

TOKYO, June 16 Kyodo

Selected editorial excerpts from the Asia-Pacific press:

KOREA-JAPAN EEZ TALKS (The Korea Times, Seoul)

The two day Korea-Japan talks in Tokyo earlier this week on exclusive economic zones (EEZ) in the East Sea ended with no headway at all. Failure of the talks was expected well before the opening as each side's position over how to demarcate the zones collided head-on.

In the talks, Korea proposed the boundary be drawn along the median line between Dokdo, the easternmost islet, and Okinoshima island in Japan's Shimane Prefecture. Meanwhile, Japan stuck to its usual position of setting the EEZ border between Korea's Ullung-do and the disputed Dokdo, which Japan regards as being under its sovereignty.

Korea's change of attitude stems from the recent dispute touched off by Japan's hydrographic survey attempt near Dokdo, within Korea's EEZ. However, our new proposal, apparently aimed at rebuffing Japan's unwarranted sovereign claim over the islet, failed to bring any result in the negotiations. In a strict sense of the meaning, delineation of an EEZ and sovereign rights do not always coincide.

Moreover, some scholars warn of the danger in using Dokdo instead of Ullung-do as the cardinal point in demarcating an EEZ. They have called on the government to be cautious, saying that from a long-term perspective the designation could bring more harm than good. One or a group of islets, regarded uninhabitable from various environmental points of view, are not entitled to serve as the cardinal point in EEZ delineations under the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea.

The scholars point out that Dokdo, despite the fact that is inhabited by some 30 members of our defense force, is widely regarded by the international community as an uninhabitable rock. The designation of Dokdo as the cardinal point is also feared to offer Japan justification in its move to use the Torishima islets, an outcrop of rocks in the South Sea, as a new starting point for its own EEZ in those waters. The same situation could occur in our negotiations with China for an EEZ in the West Sea.

The government should not be swayed by patriotic sentiment in its negotiations with Japan. The Dokdo and EEZ issues should be pushed ahead separately. In 1996, then President Kim Young-sam and his Japanese counterpart Ryutaro Hashimoto agreed in summit talks to conduct EEZ negotiations separate from the Dokdo issue. In talks to be resumed in September, it is hoped our government tackles the issue on the firm basis of pertinent, international law.

(June 16)
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Article Details
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 19, 2006
Words:425
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