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Korea hails no-decision by mapmakers on sea

May 12,2007
The latest meeting of the International Hydrographic Organization ended without any changes, but South Korea is happy because the head of the organization suggested the moniker “Sea of Japan” be deleted from the world’s oceanographic maps until an agreement on the disputed name can be reached.
Japan rejected the idea, chief cabinet secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said, according to Yonhap. And a new version can’t be published until every country agrees to the changes.
The oceanographic map has not been updated since 1953.
The international body sets the world’s map standards. Its next meeting is in 2009.
A senior government official who declined to be named said the head of the organization, David Wynford Williams, proposed publishing an updated version of the Limits of Oceans and Seas without the name of the disputed sea between South Korea and Japan.
“This proves officially that Japan’s argument that the Sea of Japan is an internationally established name is not true,” said the senior government official.
South Korean civic groups, such as the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, have for years continuously put in efforts to alert international publications and map makers around the world to use the East Sea designation.
In its 2005 version of the Atlas of the World, published by National Geographic, both designations were used. Encyclopedia Britannica also started using both designations this year in its CD version.
Trying to capitalize on the recent developments, the Blue House said yesterday that Tokyo should accept a joint designation.
“Using the Sea of Japan designation is a legacy of the imperial Japanese past,” said Yoon Seung-yong, the Blue House secretary for public information.
“The organization wants to publish a new version since the existing one is so old,” the Korean government official said. “There is peer pressure on Japan to yield. Since it’s obvious Japan won’t agree to a complete change of the name, having both designations appear is very feasible.”


by Brian Lee Staff Writerafricanu@joongang.co.kr



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