Dokdo in the East Sea is Korean territory, geographically and by the international law. Japan’s attempts to seize Dokdo deny historical records.
The name East Sea has been in continuous use for over 2,000 years and it is inappropriate to name a sea after a single country. In this menu, we provide the Korean government’s official positions on Dokdo and the East Sea, accompanied by related historical records and multimedia contents
Korea's sovereignty over Dokdo
Dokdo should never be subject to diplomatic negotiations or territorial disputes because it is Korean territory by facts and history. Korea wants to cooperate with Japan to rectify their misunderstanding of historical facts and bring lasting peace and prosperity to Northeast Asia.
History is not something that can be arbitrarily stitched together from disparate parts. Dokdo was the first piece absorbed by Japan when it invaded the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). For Japan to insist on possession of Dokdo is no different from denying Korea's history of liberation from Japanese rule. Japan's claim over Dokdo implies that it has never abandoned territorial ambitions even after its illegal occupation of the Korean Peninsula ended in 1945.
Korean Government's Official Position on Dokdo
A. Korea's sovereignty is irrefutable
The Government of the Republic of Korea is adamant in its position that Dokdo is Korean territory. This fact is irrefutable geographically, historically and according to international law.
B. Geographical standpoint
Dokdo, the easternmost islands of Korea, are 87.4 kilometers southeast of Ulleungdo in the East Sea. According to Sejong sillok jiriji (Geographical Appendix to the Veritable Records of King Sejong, 1432), Usando (Dokdo) and Mureungdo (Ulleungdo) are visible from each other on a clear day. It is natural that the residents in Ulleungdo have long recognized Dokdo as islands belonging to Ulleungdo.
C. Documents prove that old name Usando is current Dokdo
Sejong sillok jirijiThe Silla Kingdom (57 BCE-935 CE) annexed Usanguk, comprising Ulleungdo and Dokdo, in year 512, since when the name Dokdo started appearing in official documents. Sejong sillok jiriji (1432), for example, referred to Ulleungdo and Dokdo as Mureungdo and Usando, respectively. Goryeosa (History of Goryeo, 1451), Sinjeung dongguk yeoji seungnam (Revised Edition of the Augmented Survey of the Geography of Korea, 1530), Dongguk munheon bigo (Reference Compilation of Documents of Korea, 1770), Man-gi yoram (Book of Ten Thousand Techniques of Governance, 1808) and many others show that Usando was an old name for Dokdo. They also prove that Usando referred to Dokdo for at least several centuries until the early 20th century.
D. Japan's capture of An Yong-bok
The statue of An Yong-bokDuring the King Sukjong era (1674-1720), Joseon's fisherman An Yong-bok was captured by the Japanese fisherman. Diplomatic negotiations to deal with the abduction had been prompted between Joseon and Japan and the issue of ownership over Ulleungdo and Dokdo was concluded with the Tokugawa Shogunate issuing a directive in 1696, prohibiting all Japanese from making passage to Ulleungdo.
E. Ulleungdo and Dokdo have nothing to do with Japan: Daijokan
A memorandum from Japan's Home Affairs Ministry and a directive issued by Daijokan proclaiming that Dokdo "had nothing to do with Japan." (1877)During the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Daijokan (Grand Council of State) received a note of inquiry from Japan's Ministry of Home Affairs about the compilation of land registers for the Shimane Prefecture. The Daijokan issued in 1877 a directive and stated "Regarding Takeshima (Ulleungdo) and another island (Dokdo), Japan has nothing to do with them."
F. Korea's Imperial Edict No. 41
Edict No. 41In 1900, under the reign of King Kojong, the Great Han Empire of Korea issued Imperial Edict No. 41, placing then-Seokdo (Dokdo) under the jurisdiction of Uldo-gun (Ulleungdo). In 1906, Sim Heung-taek, Uldo-gun County Chief, was notified that the eastern islands of Korea had been incorporated into Japan by a survey team from Japan's Shimane Prefecture. Sim right after submitted a report to the Governor of the Gangwon-do (province) in ways to counter the ridiculous and self-contradictory act.
G. Uijeongbu's Directive No. 3
In 1906, the Uijeongbu (The Great Han Empire's State Council) issued Directive No. 3, arguing that Japan's incorporating of Dokdo is groundless. It instructed a reexamination of the incorporation.
H. Japan's invasion goes against international law
In the midst of Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), which had been triggered by Japan's imperialistic invasion scheme since the 1890s, Japan incorporated Dokdo into the Shimane Prefecture by issuing the Shimane Prefecture Public Notice No. 40. The incorporation constituted a violation of international law and cannot be justified under any circumstances because it is a clear infringement on the indisputable sovereignty of Korea over the islands from ancient times to the Great Han Empire.
I. Cairo Declaration after WWII
Korea was annexed to Japan in 1910 and the colonial rule ended in 1945 with Japan's defeat in World War II. In 1943, the U.S., Britain and China issued the Cairo Declaration, vowing hat Japan would "...be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed." In 1945 when Korea regained its independence, Dokdo was returned to Korea. Dokdo's exclusion from Japan's territory was reaffirmed in the San Francisco Treaty signed in 1951. In the years following Korea's liberation and to this day, Dokdo has been under the effective control and jurisdiction of Korea.
J. Firm and resolute stance of the Korean Government
Korean Government's position is steady that Dokdo has inherently been Korean territory. It does not regard the Dokdo issue as a matter to be dealt with through diplomatic negotiations or judicial settlement. It will deal firmly and resolutely with any claims denying Korean sovereignty over the islands.