Friday, September 24, 2010

Dokdo Plans International Airport

Dokdo Council Members have voted to go ahead with plans to build an international airport on the rocky islands. Local mayor, 62-year-old Kim, explained that the current helipad and docking facilities were inadequate for the island’s burgeoning population of almost 2,600 people. However, the plan was not without controversy, since it calls for the removal of two trees – the presence of trees is required under international law for the islets to be recognized as natural islands rather than reefs.

Kim hopes the trees will be replanted quickly elsewhere so that Dokdo isn’t downgraded to a reef, as the administrative burden of changing all the signs on the islands will be considerable. However, even if this problem is overcome, another exists in designating the airport as an ‘International’ one. Local authorities had hoped to launch the newly-created ‘Dokdo Air’ airline with the purchase of a surplus two-seat Harrier Jump Jet trainer, which would then take passengers to and from the nearby Japanese island of Tsushima, but this has been complicated by continued Korean territorial claims to Tsushima which are properly called Daemado in Korea. “As Daemado is clearly meant to be Korean territory” added Mayor Kim, “calling our airport ‘International’ might be seen to support Japan’s illegitimate and historically inaccurate claims to the island.”

Construction work on the airport is expected to commence in March next year, and is not expected to be completed for several hours.