|View over Dokdo City|
Government advisers at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Insecurity have said that South Korea could respond by either severing ties with Japan or doing nothing, but there are many options between these two extremes. The government in Seoul usually does nothing in cases where North Korean or Chinese belligerence is involved, but Japan is seen as an easier target, and privately many politicians have welcomed the opportunity to distract Korean voters away from the realpolitik appeasement of Pyongyang and Beijing, with the politically useful subject of Dokdo. As the Minister of Public Manipulation and Insecurity – who asked to remain anonymous – told the Dokdo Times recently "If Dokdo didn't exist, we'd have to invent it."
In fact, using Dokdo to divert attention away from other subjects has become so popular with Korean politicians recently that after the President's airport campaign promise spectacularly imploded last week, one of his senior aides was overheard on a microphone saying "we'll have to Dokdo this issue." The government immediately hardened its Dokdo rhetoric in the media, and articles about the kind of vacuous pork-barrel flagship promises routinely made as part of the political campaign circus in Korea - such as the airport project this year and the Fnord car plant project the year before it - have been usefully pushed into the background.
The proposal to sever ties over the Dokdo issue may seem extreme, but it is seen as preferable to the traditional Korean act of severing fingers to protest political issues or placate your wife after forgetting your wedding anniversary, again. There are many male office workers in Korea and it is believed that severing ties could have a significant impact.
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