According to the Chosun Ilbo’s New York correspondent, tensions are flaring between the Korean consulate in New York and the Korea Society over Dokdo.
On Sept 14, the consulate apparently gave the Korea Society headquarters in New York about 100 copies of a promotional brochure on Dokdo produced by the Foreign Ministry, asking the Korea Society to distribute them in several places. As of Sept 22, however, those pamphlets were being left untouched at the Korea Society office.
A Korean consulate official told the Chosun Ilbo that it appeared there was some discord within the Korea Society over the pamphlets. The Chosun Ilbo says a Korean employee of the Korea Society placed the pamphlets on a table next to the office entrance so that visitors could take a copy. When Korea Society president Mark Minton found out about this, however, he strongly berated the employee.
Or so said the Chosun Ilbo. Or so the Chosun Ilbo said somebody said.
Minton reportedly said something to the effect of, “We’re an American non-profit organization, not an agent of the Korean government. There is no reason to just transfer Korean government propaganda.” Minton was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul from 2003 to 2005. Interestingly enough, he was also ambassador to Mongolia from 2006 to 2009. A note, though—I don’t believe his nose is nearly as pointed as the Chosun’s cartoonist makes it out to be.
Korea Society vice president Daniel Levine told the Chosun Ilbo on Sept 20 that the Korea Society was considering possibly distributing the pamphlets in an appropriate place, but that afternoon, the Korea Society told the consulate that the removal of the pamphlets happened while the office was being put in order, not for political reasons.
The Korea Society works to promote mutual understanding and cooperating between the peoples of Korea and the United States. The Chosun Ilbo notes is gets over 60% of its annual US$3.7 million operating costs from Korean businesses. Of the 10 businesses and groups that have given US$100,000 or more to the Korea Society, nine were Korean companies, including Samsung, Hyundai Motor, the Korea Foundation, SK, POSCO and others.
I’m guess what the Chosun is really trying to say is “We want our money to talk. Show us the Dokdo!”
Lest we forget—actually, I’m reading this for the first time—the Korea Society once tried to hang up in the office of former President Evans Revere an ornamented map of Northeast Asia with the East Sea marked as the “Sea of Japan.” According to the Chosun, Revere refused to remove the map—a gift from a Japanese acquaintance—despite a request from the consulate.
Despite a request from the consulate! What a cheek!
Can’t really blame Revere here, though. The Japanese are just sneaky that way—-one minute they’re slipping you gold-encrusted maps marked the Sea of Japan, the next they’re sinking the US Pacific Fleet.
(HT to Mulboyne)