September 27, 2019 10:08
A small island in the West Sea that houses a North Korean military installation is located south of the de facto maritime border on the Defense Ministry's own map.
The ministry claims that Hambak Island lies north of the Northern Limit Line and any maps indicating otherwise are wrong. But Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Lee Yang-soo on Thursday said the ministry's own website features a map that shows Hambak as South Korean territory.
The map appears on the page giving directions to the ministry, and scrolling to the West Sea shows Hambak below the NLL.
A ministry staffer said the map was copied from Kakao's map service and "must be wrong." A government official said, "We can't change the map overnight, but revisions will be made to civilian maps once the results of an investigation by a committee of civilian and government experts are out."
Hambak has become the focus of controversy after a North Korean military installation was discovered there even though it is listed under South Korean jurisdiction.
The ministry has repeatedly claimed the inclusion of Hambak in South Korean territory was a "clerical error" and insisted it sits 700 m north of the NLL.
But newspaper reports from the 1960s suggest otherwise, and the Korea Forest Service surveyed the island during the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2005 and the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries did the same during the Lee Myung-bak administration in 2010.
A military source said, "There has been a deluge of materials that directly refute the ministry's claim that Hambak Island belongs to North Korea. If this continues, unnecessary misunderstandings could arise."
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