U.S. Maps Confirm Korean Sovereignty Over Dokdo

This map drawn up in November 1949 by the U.S. State Department and sent to General MacArthur and the Pentagon shows the Dokdo islets as Korean territory. This map drawn up in November 1949 by the U.S. State Department and sent to General MacArthur and the Pentagon shows the Dokdo islets as Korean territory.

A map used by the U.S. while drafting a peace treaty with Japan at the end of World War II clearly indicates that the Dokdo islets are Korean territory. The find adds to a growing body of evidence that Japanese territorial claims to islets are without merit.

Prof. Jung Byung-joon of Ewha Womans University discovered the map in the MacArthur Memorial Archives in Norfolk, Virginia in 2008 and included a copy in his book "Dokdo 1947." It was drawn up by the State Department on Nov. 2, 1949 and sent to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, then supreme commander of the Allied Forces headquartered in Tokyo, along with a draft peace treaty.

The draft treaty's "Territory" chapter clearly states that Dokdo belongs to Korea. "Japan hereby renounces in favor of the Korean people all rights and titles to the Korea... and offshore Korean islands, including Quelpart [Jeju Island], the Nan How group which forms Port Hamilton [Geomun Island], Dagelet Island [Ulleung Island], Liancourt Rocks [Dokdo Islets], and all other islands and islets to which Japan has acquired title," it says.

Jung also discovered another U.S. government map, equally putting Dokdo in Korean territory, that was drawn up by a policy planning taskforce of the State Department on Oct. 14, 1947 to define Japanese territory. Until recently it was believed that this map was drawn up in 1949 or 1950.

Jung said the November 1949 map depicting Dokdo as belonging to Korea was the final version by the U.S., which as a victor nation had the right to determine Japanese territory under the Cairo and Potsdam declarations. "The U.S. only later left room for a territorial dispute because it didn't clearly delineate Japanese territory in the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 in a bid to foster Japan as an ally."

Shin Yong-ha, a professor at Hanyang University said the 1949 documents constitute new historical evidence and will serve as the bedrock of future debate about Japan's perennial claim to Dokdo.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 13, 2010 09:35 KST