"US Office No Longer Regards Dokdo as Korean Territory"

The following is a link to a July 27 article from the Korea Times:

"US Office No Longer Regards Dokdo as Korean Territory"

According to the article, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has revised its description of Liancount Rocks (Dokdo) to take a more neutral stance on the sovereignty of the rocks. Thought the US office has been using the name "Liancourt Rocks" to refer to the islets since 1977, it had been describing the rocks as being under Korean control until recently changing it to "undesignated sovereignty."

Also, according to another article, Koreans are upset that "Takesima" comes before "Tok-to" in a list of alternate names used for the Liancourt Rocks, but that is probably just because "Takesima" comes before "Tokto" alphabetically. (I smell another name war brewing.)

Anyway, as you might expect, Korea's "Netizens" are upset, according to THIS KOREAN ARTICLE. Here are some of the Netizen comments mentioned in the article:
  • How can this happen after having listened to Bush's pet dog barking in the US? Is our alliance broken?
    "미국에서 부시 애완견소리까지 들었는데 이거 어찌 된겁니까. 한미 동맹 깨진겁니까?"
  • "VANK, Netizens! Put pressure on the US. The US was certainly not our friend. They just watched over us for their own defense, but not now."
    "반크여, 네티즌이여! 미국을 압력하라. 미국은 절대 우리친구가 아니었다”며 “자기들의 방위를 위하여 우리를 지켜주었다.이제는 아니다."

  • "Some blood alliance! They seem to be saying that Korea's territory, Dokdo, is ownerless to prepare the way to forcefully take it for themselves."
    "혈맹관계라더니 한국의 영토인 독도를 주인이 없다 하는것은 차제에 자신들도 힘으로 쟁취할 수 있는 길을 만든 셈이다."
Here is what they are upset about. Click to enlarge.


  1. U.S wants to help Rhee Myong-Bak,I guess.

  2. A lot of Korean spam mail will be sent to US Office.

  3. It is a favorable movement but USA has some responsibilities to the issue because USA knew it was illegal for Rhee Syngman's Korea to occupy the island and warned them (as various reports proved) but USA didn't use forces to South Korea due to the strategical reason.

    It was a critical period during the cold war so that Japan had to endure but now that the cold war ended, USA should show their fairness - neutral position is not fair when they knew Rhee Syngman violated the international law.

  4. I agree with pacifist. U.S.'s decision is fair. I don't mind listing Takeshima behind Tokdo, though as long as it is clearly written as disputed territory.

    And I just understood chaamiey's sarcasm. Yes, it might help president Lee, just like PM Fukuda did... It depends on president Lee's decision if they go back to the lost 10 years, or change Korea to become democratic developped country.

  5. Kaneganese,

    I think USA's decision is not bad but not fair, because they knew Rhee Syngman violated the international law.

    They should say at least that they knew it was illegal to occupy the island but the decision may have been a favor to the president Rhee Myong-bak.

    Anyway, I hope the president will decide not to take the same old nationalistic policy.

  6. I have just added to the post a screenshot of what they are upset about.

  7. I don't mind the order of the variant names.

    If Korean people are satisfied, all the variant names may be written by alphabetical order - Dokdo first, but it wouldn't help much for the ultimate result of the dispute.

    It is a time for both countries to discuss openly and scientifically, not emotionally. And if they won't be able to agree one decision, they should go to ICJ.

  8. Hi,

    I'm very sorry for the Koreans, but the U.S. Board on Geographic Names(BGN)should have added the name "Dok-do" as a Variant along with the other Variants

    I even think that BGN is making fun of the Koreans by putting up "Dog-do" as a Variant in the list.

  9. raquel,

    I didn't notice about "Dog-do", but it maybe a joke as you say...
    Sorry for Korean people, but maybe.

    By the way, the other day somebody posted a site somewhere in this blog, concerning Korean lobbyists in the USA were enormously active to stop to re-name the island as Liancourt Rocks. Their action may have induced this kind of joke...(just a imagination, sorry).

  10. pacifist,

    At least pronunciation-wise, "Dogdo" is the closest way to write "독도(獨島) in the romanization of Hangeul.

    So, perhaps, U.S. is trying to teach the Koreans how to write "Dokdo" more correctly.

  11. Kaneganeseさん、私の推測は皮肉ではありません。こういうことです。




  12. i have a feeling that the Koreans were insulted Dokdo was/is their land after all

  13. dajooo,

    The article says that USA will take a neutral stance, it does not mean "Dokdo was/is their land after all".

    They say that Korea and Japan should talk with each other and resolve the issue. Not bad, isn't it?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Hi, Gerry
    I have noticed that the BGN page was last updated in 1996. The news source comes from Yonhap news. Did Yonhap know what the page said exactly before 1996? Did it really say it belonged to S.Korea?

    This is the thread I posted on Naver EnjoyJapan/Korea (korean).

  16. According to Yomiuri Shimbun (Japanese version) says that USA laid emphasis on the fact that USA has not ever admitted Liancourt Rocks to be Korean territory.


  17. Mikan,

    According to Korean newspapers, the change from "Korean" sovereignty to "undesignated sovereignty" happened last Friday.

  18. Gerry,

    It seems BGN has two pages of Liancourt Rocks and they changed back one of the pages to South Korea (1993) yesterday.

    This is the page changed this time.
    Liancourt Rocks (South Korea)
    It was last updated in 1993.

    This is the other page of Liancourt Rocks (Oceans - Undesignated Sovereignty)
    Last updated in 1996.