竹島問題の歴史

18.9.12

1973 Jun 16 - "Dong-a Ilbo" Questions the Discovery of "Parang Island"

This June 16, 1973 article in the Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo has helped answer a very important question for me. Who told the Korean government that Liancourt Rocks was Korean territory?

Well, according to Yu Jin-o ((洪鍾仁), who was quoted in the article, the Korean Prime Minister at the time told him that Korean President Rhee Syng-man had tasked him with finding out the boundaries of Korean territory. The Korean Prime Minister said the Korean President recommended that he go to Korean historians for the answers. As a result, the Prime Minister went to the renowned Korean historian Choi Nam-seon (崔南善), who told him that old Korean texts recorded that Korea's easternmost boundry was "Dokdo" (獨島) and its southwestern boundary was Parangseo (波浪嶼).

The problem with going to Mr. Choi Nam-seon for help in determining Korea's boundaries is that Mr. Choi wrote in his  1948 book "General Knowledge of Joseon" (朝鮮常識) that Korea's easternmost boundary was Ulleungdo's neighboring island of "Jukdo" (竹島), which is only 2 kilometers off Ulleungdo's east shore. Here is what Mr. Choi wrote in 1948: (LINK):
Easternmost (極東)
130º 56 min 56 sec East Longitude (東経130度56分23秒)
 [Ulleungdo''s Jukdo in North Gyeongsang Province (慶尚北道鬱陵島竹島)]
I think Mr. Choi Nam-seon mistook Ulleungdo's neighboring island of "Jukdo" (竹島), which is only 2 km off Ulleungdo's east shore, for Japan's "Takeshima" (竹島), which is about 90 km to the southeast of Ulleungdo, because both names used the same Chinese characters: 竹島. And I think Korea's Patriotic Old Men's Association made the same mistake. In fact, Choi Nam-seon may have even been one of those Patriotic Old Men.

Here is my translation of the June 16, 1973 article.
Events Leading to a  Citizen of Jeju Province Applying for an Occupation Permit 
"In Science there are no miracles. We are at sea at coordinates 32º 10' N and 125º E. Within the twenty mile range of visibility, Parang Island cannot be detected."
In August 1951 Mr. Hong Jong-in (洪鍾仁), the head of the research team sent to find Parang Island in the sea 180 kilometers (km) to the southwest of Jejudo, sent the above cable to Son Won-il (孫元一), the Chief of Naval Operations. At the time Mr. Hong was the chairman of the Korean Alpine Club and editor-in-chief of the Chosun Ilbo. 
When the United States and Japan were making the first draft of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the research team sent to find Parang Island, with the help of the navy, searched the waters 180 km southwest of Jejudo, but, in the end, were unable to find it.
Is "Parang Island" really an island?
The question of this unconfirmed island has once again been brought up by Han Gwang-seop 韓光燮), a resident of Jeju Province. He claims to have confirmed the island and has applied to Jeju provincial authorities for a permit of occupation. (Refer to the article on Page 7 of the Donga Ilbo.) 
For now, Jeju authorities have returned his application, giving the reason, "It shows up as a reef on navigational charts and is outside our territory." However, the question is whether it is really an island coming up out of the sea at that location or whether it is part of the contiental shelf. If it is part of the continental shelf, then how it will be treated under international law becomes a question of interest. 
Han Gwang-seop said, "Navigational charts show that spot labeled only as as "current breaks." It is obvious that it is not an island above the surface of the water." According to the (Geneva) Convention on the Law of the Sea, 'An island is a natural area that is surrounded by water and sticks up out of the water at high tide.' It defines an area that naturally sticks up above the water at low tide but is submerged at high tide as an 'elevated area.' If an elevated area is outside territorial waters, it cannot have its own territorial waters."
 In 1951 the naval vessel ordered by President Rhee to do the first on-site search ended up not finding it. 
If it is submerged at high tide, it is not an island.
If it is part of the continental shelf, it becomes a problem dealt with under international law, which would generate a lot of interest.
Constitutional Law scholar Yu Jin-o (兪鎭午) explains the 1951 search for this island as follows:  
At the time of the evacuation to Busan, I went to see Prime Minister Jang Myeon (張勉), who said he had been instructed by the President to find the borders of our territory. He was told to prepare for Korea-Japan talks by first meeting with historians. Therefore, he met Choi Nam-seon (崔南善), who told him that old texts recorded our territory as Dokdo (獨島) to the east and Parangseo (波浪嶼) to the southwest, so he said we should do an on-site survey. Hong Jong-il (洪鍾仁) was made the team leader, and a naval survey team was sent to the site, but they were unable to find the island in the end.
Misters Yu Jin-o (兪鎭午) and Hong Jong-in (洪鍾仁) said that if it is only a reef and not an island, then it cannot be a territorial issue or be subject to administration with an occupation permit under international law, but if it can be confirmed as an island, then we could argue that our territory should be extended out to there. An official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said on the 19th, "If it submerges at high tide and appears at low tide, it is an elevated area that is not recognized as an island under international law, and a place like that cannot be the object of possession."

The experts say that the issue with Parang Island is still unconfirmed, and even if it is confirmed, it will still remain open seas if it is a reef and not be a territorial issue.
 
Reporter Kim Jin-bae (金珍培)

1 comment:

  1. As for the Choi Nam-seon's description that the easternmost limit of Korea is Ulleungdo's neighboring island of "Jukdo"(竹島), it's nothing but a dishonorable pro-Japanese Korean scholar's statement in favor of Japan. It seems he abandoned his pro-Japanese disposition after independence from Japan's colonial ruling by advising President Rhee to claim Dokdo in SF Treaty. If he truly believed the Korea's easternmost boundary was Jukdo, he had no reason to tell President Rhee to claim as Korean land in SF Treaty. Everybody knows what Korea claimed in SF Treaty was Dokdo, not Jukdo.

    Regarding Choi Nam-seon's the easternmost limit of Korea

    Don't try to mislead the readers with Choi's statement in "朝鮮常識".

    ReplyDelete