February 20, 2014 12:01
Korea's campaign to raise awareness of its sovereignty over the Dokdo islets seems to have backfired spectacularly, multiplying international references by the Japanese name "Takeshima." The higher the profile of the Korean campaign, the more likely it looks that Japan's flimsy colonial claim to the will one day be accepted as a bona fide territorial dispute.
A report issued last month by the U.S. Congressional Research Service uses both Dokdo and Takeshima for the Korean islets and another report in August last year referred to Dokdo by the old French maritime designation "Liancourt Rocks," which Japan still prefers to the proper name.
It is unclear why the CRS ended up using these names, but its reports do affect U.S. legislation and thus accepted usage.
Also, a map on the National Geographic Society's website uses both Dokdo and Takeshima, while a 2009 map by National Geographic refers to Dokdo as Liancourt Rocks along with both Korean and Japanese names.
One diplomatic source in Washington said, "At present, the official U.S. name for Dokdo is Liancourt Rocks, and Washington's stance is to stay out of territorial issues involving Korea and Japan. It's important to stress the use of the proper name, but we need to be wary of inadvertently benefiting Japanese efforts to turn the matter into an international territorial dispute."
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