Japan and South Korea: Dokdo

Matt from Gusts of popular feelings blogs on the reaction on the territorial debate between Japan and South Korea over Dokdo.


  • Dokdo (or Tokto) (독도/獨島, in Korean and as Takeshima (竹島? in Japanese has been Korean teritory historically according to various historical records and maps such as Samguk Sagi, Annals of Joseon Dynasty and Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam.

    The recent dispute stems largely from conflicting interpretations of whether Japan’s renunciation of sovereignty over its occupied territories after World War II was supposed to cover the Liancourt Rocks(Dok do) as well. Supreme Commander Allied Powers Instruction #677 of January 29, 1946, listed the Liancourt Rocks, along with many other islands, as part of those territories over which Japanese administration was to be suspended.
    In the first to fifth drafts of the Treaty of San Francisco between Japan and the Allied powers, Liancourt Rocks were described as part of Korea.[46] However, the sixth draft, which was made on Dec 29, 1949, ruled that Liancourt Rocks belong to Japan, due to Japan’s secret lobbying. The final version did not mention Liancourt Rocks.
    On July 2008, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) changed the name of the country that Liancourt Rocks belong to from South Korea to Undesignated Sovereignty. Responding to this change, Gonzalo R. Gallegos, Acting Deputy Spokesman of the U.S. State Department, said on July 28, 2008 that the United States has long maintained a policy stance of neutrality on the islets, and that the latest change does not represent any policy change within the U.S. government.[57]
    The same change that classified Liancourts Rocks as Undesignated Sovereignty in the BGN database was reversed on July 30th under the order of U.S. President George W. Bush, once again marking the status of Liancourts Rocks under South Korean control.


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