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UNDERSTANDING THE DOKDO ISSUE: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE LIBERALIST APPROACH

Sungbae Kim
The Journal of East Asian Affairs
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2010), pp. 1-27
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23258212
Page Count: 27
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
UNDERSTANDING THE DOKDO ISSUE: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE LIBERALIST APPROACH
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Abstract

Some Japanese scholars such as Ikegami Masako suggest that the Dokdo issue can and should be resolved using a liberalist approach. This approach, however, ignores the essence of the issue and attempts, instead, to solve the problem by treating it as a subject of conflict resolution. But such an approach designed in haste to resolve the Dokdo issue could only further aggravate the existing tension between the two countries. This paper argues that a twin approach, one realist and one constructivist, is the best way to deal with the Dokdo issue. From the realist perspective, compromise or cooperation is not a feasible option for resolving the Dokdo issue, which is basically a dispute over sovereignty and territory. From a constructivist point of view, it is an issue of identity. Dokdo is considered to be an inseparable part of Korean territory that must be protected at any cost. Consequently, the only solution to the problem is for Japan to retract its claim over Dokdo, which will be taken by Koreans as a sign of Japan's willingness to reorient its course of actions and in so doing the relationship can finally be put on the right track.

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