Solving Territorial Disputes

As we watch relations between Japan and Korea continue to fray over an increasingly nationalistic fight for a bunch of silly rocks in the middle of the ocean, we may wonder, how can this be resolved without halting trade or firing shots?

As a Mr Mark Thoma points out on his blog, there has been a significant decrease in violent crimes committed by American youth, inversely correlating to the growth of violent video games. That is to say, as young people in America have been engaging in more simulated violence they have in fact, contrary to the typical close minded conservative Joe Lieberman position, been at the same time engaging in less real violence.

What does this have to do with the dispute between Japan and Korea of ownership of Dokdo/Takeshima, you may be thinking? For the answer, let us turn to this article reprinted by Yahoo News, originally from Yonhap.

N.Korea Agrees To Provide Free ‘Dokdo’ Online Game
SEOUL, March 18 Asia Pulse – A North Korean company has agreed to provide a partially free service for an online game related to the Dokdo islets, a group of South Korean outcroppings, which it co-developed with a South Korean firm, the Southern partner said Thursday.

“The North Korean company, which developed the game with us, answered positively to our suggestion of providing the game at no cost for a while,” said NKmall (, which imports North Korean products.

“LG Telecom (Kosdaq:032640) will give a free service to its subscribers for the game from Friday to Thursday next week,” it added. The game play involves guarding the islets from invaders. LG Telecom is one of South Korea’s three mobile phone operators

Dokdo has become a hot issue domestically as a provincial assembly in Japan voted on Wednesday to designate a day on its calendar to promote its claim over the islets, sparking strong protests from South Korea.

The two Koreas are finding some common ground in their opposition to Japan over the issue.

South Korea is also considering importing North Korea-made postage stamps concerning the rocky islets.

Dokdo, a set of volcanic outcroppings in the East Sea, lies halfway between South Korea and Japan. Seoul has maintained a small police detachment there since 1954.

The way is clear. As the youth of America have begun turning from stealing cars to Grand Theft Auto, from shooting each other to playing Counterstrike, from getting in schoolyard fist-fights to Street Fighter, so must nation states follow. By channeling agression from the real to the virtual realm shall we preserve peace.

Perhaps instead of fighting an actual war for control of Liancourt/Dokdo/Takeshima, Japan and Korea (and maybe France too, but we all know they would lose) could have select champions to battle it out in computer games? Of course, the selection of game will be a source of great controversy. First person shooter games like Counterstrike, or real time strategy like Starcraft would undoubtadly go to Korea, and Japan would wipe the floor with them in fighting games, but at least diplomatic efforts would be focused on something sensible for a change.

5 thoughts on “Solving Territorial Disputes”

  1. I had a friend who was freaking obsessed with Mortal Kombat in high school. One time we made this video for Spanish class where he wore a Mexican wrestler mask made of tinfoil and waved a broom handle all ninja-style to the tune of the Mortal Kombat soundtrack. It was seriously one of the highlights of my time in high school.

  2. I like posts like this that take two seemingly unrelated things and connect them.

    Most likely, South Korea would kick Japan’s butt in online gaming. Those guys have some mad skillz.

  3. How about we just dynamite the rocks and evenly divide the territorial waters between Japan and Korea. Let’s make these worthless, unihabitable islands just that.

  4. The Solomon approach? I like it. Of course either side would still be obligated to torpedo any DPRK vessels that showed up.

    Or, we could also let North Korea enter the games tourney- it might be kind of fun to watch them cry tears of joy the first time they see 3d graphics.

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