Fearing that Japan would reassert its claim to Dokdo as soon as the treaty came into force, South Korean President Lee Seung-man (more commonly known in the West as Syngman Rhee) took time from working on the Korean War to declare a ``Peace Line" in the waters around the Korean peninsula in January of 1952. Of course, he made sure to place Dokdo within Korean territory.Mr. Jackson wrote that Korea's 1900 Imperial Degree No. 41 set up the Korean administration of Dokdo and that Dokdo was a source of dispute between Korea and Japan before Japan's 1910 annexation of Korea, but he is wrong on both points.
He then went to work establishing Korea's effective control of Dokdo. In July of 1953, Korean soldiers fired on a small ship from the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency, which had come to enforce Japan's claim to the water around the islets. By June of 1954, there was a permanent Korean military presence on Dokdo. Since then, Korea has built housing, surveillance facilities, a lighthouse, and a dock there.
That settles it; Dokdo is Korean territory.
Dokdo is not Korean territory because of what the Silla Dynasty did 1500 years ago or because some fisherman took a trip to Japan in the 1690s. It is Korean territory because Lee Seung-man took military control of it and established that Korea was prepared to sacrifice blood and treasure to keep it.
Dokdo was not mentioned in the 1900 decree that established "Ulleungdo, Jukdo, and Ulleungdo's rock islets (石島 - Seokdo)" as making up Uldo County, and Korea's Ministry of Interior even confirmed HERE, in 1906, that Dokdo was not part of Uldo County.
Mr. Jackson also neglected to mention that Korea has no old maps showing Dokdo, by any name, and that the United States told Korea in 1951, HERE, that Korea had no claim to Dokdo. Also, Mr. Jackson did not mention that, in 1954, US Special Ambassador James A. Van Fleet told Korea that the United States concluded that Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo) remained under Japanese sovereignty and that they were not included among the islands that Japan released from its sovereignty under the 1952 Peace Treaty. The following is the relevant excerpt from the 1954 Van Fleet Mission Report:
4. Ownership of Dokto IslandI have some sympathy for Mr. Jackson because he writes for a Korean newspaper, so he probably had little choice but to conclude that Dokdo was Korean territory, but to base that conclusion simply on the fact that armed Koreans have occupied the islets since the 1950s would mean that other occupied lands in the world are the territories of their occupiers simply because they occupy them and are willing to die for them. It that really how international law works?
The Island of Dokto (otherwise called Liancourt and Take Shima) is in the Sea of Japan approximately midway between Korea and Honshu (131.80E, 36.20N). This Island is, in fact, only a group of barren, uninhabited rocks. When the Treaty of Peace with Japan was being drafted, the Republic of Korea asserted its claims to Dokto but the United States concluded that they remained under Japanese sovereignty and the Island was not included among the Islands that Japan released from its ownership under the Peace Treaty. The Republic of Korea has been confidentially informed of the United States position regarding the islands but our position has not been made public. Though the United States considers that the islands are Japanese territory, we have declined to interfere in the dispute. Our position has been that the dispute might properly be referred to the International Court of Justice and this suggestion has been informally conveyed to the Republic of Korea.