[WaPo] Pandering to Northern Va.’s Koreans is going to extremes

August 31, 2014


Virginia is closer to becoming the first U.S. state to adopt such a dual-name policy. (Korea Times file)

More than 82,000 ethnic Koreans reside in Virginia, largely in the northern area close to Washington, D.C. The Korean American community in the region has long campaigned to publicize the East Sea name. (Korea Times file)

[THE WASHINGTON POST] In the open-seat race in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, the Republican candidate, state Del. Barbara Comstock, is promising that, if elected, she will attempt to insert Congress into a dispute between South Korea and Japan. The dispute involves prodding states to buy school textbooks that challenge the name of the Sea of Japan, which many Koreans insist should be called the East Sea. Ms. Comstock’s Democratic opponent, Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, chimed in that he would do the same.

Given Virginia’s demographics, politicians may see it as a no-brainer to take the Korean side. The state’s 82,000 ethnic Koreans, many of whom live in Northern Virginia, outnumber ethnic Japanese by more than 4 to 1.

But it’s fair to ask whether Ms. Comstock and Mr. Foust, neither of whom has any particular expertise in international affairs, should be poking their noses in a bitter dispute between two U.S. allies — one of which, Japan, is among Virginia’s top sources of foreign investment. [READ MORE]