The LIANCOURT ROCKS, also known as DOKDO or TOKTO (Korean
Hangul : 독도;
Hanja : 獨島, "solitary island")
in Korean , and TAKESHIMA (竹島, "bamboo island") in Japanese , are
a group of small islets in the
Sea of Japan . While South Korea
controls the islets, its sovereignty over them is contested by
South Korea classifies the islets as Dokdo-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung
County , North Gyeongsang Province .
Japan classifies them as part of
Okinoshima , Oki District ,
Shimane Prefecture .
The Franco-English name of the islets derives from Le Liancourt, the
name of a French whaling ship which came close to being wrecked on the
rocks in 1849.
Liancourt Rocks consist of two main islets and 35 smaller rocks;
the total surface area of the islets is 0.18745 square kilometres
(46.32 acres), with the highest elevation of 169 metres (554 ft) found
at an unnamed location on the West Islet.
Liancourt Rocks lie in rich fishing grounds which may contain
large deposits of natural gas .
* 1 Geography
* 2 Distances
* 3 Climate
* 4 Ecology
* 4.1 Pollution and environmental destruction
* 5 Demographics and economy
* 6 Construction
* 7 History
* 7.2 Sovereignty dispute
* 8 Notes
* 9 References
* 10 External links
Liancourt Rocks consist of two main islets and numerous
surrounding rocks. The two main islets, called Seodo (
Hangul : 서도;
Hanja : 西島, "Western Island") and Dongdo (
Hangul : 동도;
東島, "Eastern Island") in Korean, and Ojima (男島, "Male Island")
and Mejima (女島, "Female Island") in Japanese, are 151 metres (495
ft) apart. The Western Island is the larger of the two, with a wider
base and higher peak, while the Eastern Island offers more usable
Altogether, there are about 90 islets and reefs, volcanic rocks
formed in the
Cenozoic era, more specifically 4.6 to 2.5 million years
ago. A total of 37 of these islets are recognized as permanent land.
The total area of the islets is about 187,450 square metres (46.32
acres), with their highest point at 169 metres (554 ft) on the West
Islet. The western islet is about 88,640 square metres (21.90 acres);
the eastern islet is about 73,300 square metres (18.1 acres). The
western islet consists of a single peak and features many caves along
the coastline. The cliffs of the eastern islet are about 10 to 20
metres (33 to 66 ft) high. There are two large caves giving access to
the sea, as well as a crater.
In 2006, a geologist reported that the islets formed 4.5 million
years ago and are quickly eroding.
Liancourt Rocks are located at about 37°14′N 131°52′E /
37.233°N 131.867°E / 37.233; 131.867 . The western islet is
located at 37°14′31″N 131°51′55″E / 37.24194°N
131.86528°E / 37.24194; 131.86528 (West Islet) and the Eastern
Islet is located at 37°14′27″N 131°52′10″E /
37.24083°N 131.86944°E / 37.24083; 131.86944 (East Islet) .
Liancourt Rocks are situated at a distance of 216.8 kilometres (117.1
nmi) from mainland Korea and 211 kilometres (114 nmi) from the main
Honshu ). The nearest indisputably Korean island,
Ulleung-do , is at a distance of 87.4 kilometres (47.2 nmi), while
the distance to the nearest indisputably Japanese island, Oki Islands
, is 157 kilometres (85 nmi).
Liancourt Rocks viewed from the North
Due to their location and small size, the
Liancourt Rocks can have
harsh weather. If the swell is greater 3 to 5 metres, then landing is
not possible so on average ferries can only dock about once in every
forty days. Overall, the climate is warm and humid, and heavily
influenced by warm sea currents. Precipitation is high throughout the
year (annual average—1,324 millimetres or 52.1 inches), with
occasional snowfall. Fog is common. In summer, southerly winds
dominate. The water around the islets is about 10 °C (50 °F) in
early spring, when the water is coldest, warming to about 24 °C (75
°F) in late summer.
The islets are volcanic rocks , with only a thin layer of soil and
moss. About 49 plant species, 107 bird species, and 93 insect species
have been found to inhabit the islets, in addition to local marine
life with 160 algal and 368 invertebrate species identified. Although
between 1,100 and 1,200 litres of fresh water flow daily,
desalinization plants have been installed on the islets for human
consumption because existing spring water suffers from guano
contamination. Since the early 1970s trees and some types of flowers
were planted. According to historical records, there used to be trees
indigenous to Liancourt Rocks, which have supposedly been wiped out by
overharvesting and fires caused by bombing drills over the islets. A
recent investigation, however, identified ten spindle trees aged
100–120 years. Cetaceans such as Minke whales , orcas , and
dolphins are known to migrate through these areas.
POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION
A view from one of the rocks on a calm day
Records of the human impact on the
Liancourt Rocks before the late
20th century are scarce, although both Japanese and Koreans claim to
have felled trees and killed
Japanese sea lions there for many
There is a serious concern for pollution in the seas surrounding the
Liancourt Rocks. The sewage water treatment system established on the
islets has malfunctioned and sewage water produced by inhabitants of
Liancourt Rocks such as South Korean Coast Guard and lighthouse
staff is being dumped directly into the ocean. Significant water
pollution has been observed; sea water has turned milky white, sea
vegetation is progressively dying off, and calcification of coral
reefs is spreading. The pollution is also causing loss of biodiversity
in the surrounding seas. In November 2004, eight tons of malodorous
sludge was being dumped into the ocean every day. Efforts have since
been made by both public and private organizations to help curb the
level of pollution surrounding the Rocks.
DEMOGRAPHICS AND ECONOMY
The base that houses South Korean Police Guards on Liancourt
As of February 2017, there are two civilian residents, two government
officials, six lighthouse managers, and 40 members of the coast guard
living on the islets. Since the South Korean Coast Guard was sent to
the islets, civilian travel has been subject to South Korean
government approval; they have stated that the reason for this is that
the islet group is designated as a nature reserve.
In March 1965, Choi Jong-duk moved from the nearby
Ulleungdo to the
islets to make a living from fishing. He also helped install
facilities from May 1968. In 1981, Choi Jong-dok changed his
administrative address to the Liancourt Rocks, making himself the
first person to officially live there. He died there in September
1987. His son-in-law, Cho Jun-ki, and his wife also resided there from
1985 until they moved out in 1992. Meanwhile, in 1991, Kim Sung-do and
Kim Shin-yeol transferred to the islets as permanent residents, still
continuing to live there.
The South Korean government gave its approval to allow 1,597 visitors
to visit the islets in 2004. Since March 2005, more tourists have
received approval to visit. The South Korean government lets up to 70
tourists land at any one given time; one ferry provides rides to the
islets every day. Tour companies charge around 350,000 Korean won per
person (about US$250 as of 2009 ).
South Korea has carried out a lot of construction work on the
Liancourt Rocks. Today, the islands house a lighthouse, a helicopter
pad, a large South Korean flag visible from the air, a post box, a
staircase, and police barracks. In 2007, two desalinization plants
were built capable of producing 28 tons of clean water every day.
Both of the major South Korean telecommunications companies have
installed cellular telephone towers on the islets.
American and French whaleships cruised for right whales off the rocks
between 1849 and 1892.
Liancourt Rocks dispute
Liancourt Rocks dispute
South Korea stamps
Liancourt Rocks from 1954.
Sovereignty over the islands has been an ongoing point of contention
South Korea relations . There are conflicting
interpretations about the historical state of sovereignty over the
Korean claims are partly based on references to an island called
Usan-do (우산도, 于山島/亐山島) in various medieval
historical records, maps, and encyclopedia such as
Samguk Sagi ,
Annals of Joseon Dynasty , Dongguk Yeoji Seungnam, and Dongguk munhon
bigo. According to the Korean view, these refer to today's Liancourt
Rocks. A South Korean Police boat approaches the dock on
Liancourt Rocks' East Islet.
Japanese researchers of these documents have claimed the various
references to Usan-do refer at different times to Jukdo , its
Ulleungdo , or a non-existent island between
Ulleungdo and Korea. The first printed usage of the name Dokdo was in
a Japanese log book in 1904.
Other key points of the dispute involve the legal basis which Japan
used to claim the islands in 1905, and the legal basis of South
Korea's claim on the islands in 1952.
North Korea 's official
Korean Central News Agency has stated that
North Korea claims the islands, writing that the islands have been
"the sacred territory of
North Korea since ancient times".
* ^ "Since the end of World War II, Korea and
Japan have contested
ownership of these islets, given the name
Liancourt Rocks by French
whalers in the mid-1800s and called that by neutral observers to this
day" (Fern 2005 , p. 78).
* ^ "There are records attesting to the existence of trees in the
past" (BAEK In-ki, SHIM Mun-bo "A study... criticizes... that Usan
Island and Utsuryo Island are two names for one island." (para. 3);
and "that island does not exist at all in reality" (para. 4 — "10
Issues of Takeshima, MOFA (Article 2)" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign
Affairs (Japan). February 2008. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF)
on 13 September 2008.
* ^ "동도는 ‘우산봉’ 서도는 ‘대한봉’… 독도
봉우리 공식이름 생겼다",
The Dong-a Ilbo , 29 October 2012
* ^ A B "Dokdo Residents".
Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Retrieved
February 13, 2017.
* ^ BBC staff 2006 .
* ^ "Act 1395 amending Chapter 14-2, Ri-Administration under
Ulleung County, Local Autonomy Law, Ulleung County
(울릉군리의명칭과구역에관한조례 )". "Pursuant to Act
1395 amending Chapter 14-2, Ri-Administration under Ulleung County,
Local Autonomy Law, Ulleung County, passed March 20, 2000, enacted
April 7, 2000, the administrative designation of Dokdo addresses as 42
to 76, Dodong-ri, Ulleung-eup, Ulleung County, North Gyungsang
Province, is changed to address 1 to 37, Dokdo-ri, Ulleung-eup,
Ulleung County, North Gyungsang Province." "2000년 4월 7일
울릉군조례 제1395호로 독도리가 신설됨에 따라
독도의 행정구역이 종전의 경상북도 울릉군 울릉읍
도동리 산42～76번지에서 경상북도 울릉군 울릉읍
독도리 산1～37번지로 변경 됨.""조회". Archived from the
original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
* ^ Kirk 2008 .
* ^ A B C D E F Gyeo ngbuk Province 2001 .
* ^ BBC staff 2008 .
* ^ ""독도ㆍ울릉도 `침몰하고 있다\'"". Yeonhap News. 1
December 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
* ^ BAEK In-ki, SHIM Mun-bo & Korea Maritime Institute 2006 , pp.
* ^ A B "The Issue of Takeshima". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
Japan. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
* ^ Gyeo ngbuk Province 2001b .
* ^ Gyeo ngbuk Province 2001a .
* ^ "독도 자연생태계 정밀조사결과(요약)" .
* ^ Lee, Kyu Tae (27 June 2003), "(pseud.)The Trees of Liancourt
Rocks", Chosun Daily
* ^ "Indigenous Spindle Tree Colony Found on
Liancourt Rocks 독도
자생 사철나무 군락 첫 발견".
* ^ "독도 자생 사철나무 100년 이상 된 자생식물" .
* ^ "독도수비 해경, 그물걸린 범고래 구조 -
멸종위기 해양생물 보호 적극적인 조치 기대".
K07011002K. Ocean Committee in the Korean Federation for Environmental
Movement . 2007. p. ENVIROASIA. Archived from the original on 19
January 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
K07011002J. Koike T., translator. The Korean Federation for
Environmental Movement Ocean Committee. 2007. p. ENVIROASIA. Archived
from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
* ^ 2017. "동해 고래, 한미관계 뿐 아니라 독도
역사와도 연결". Retrieved on August 21, 2017
* ^ 국민일보 (Gookmin Daily). "독도‘실효적 지배’새
근거 (New Evidence of effective control), 1890년 이전부터
독도서 강치잡이 (Sea lion hunting before 1890)
* ^ Japan: Outline of Takeshima Issue
* ^ "독도 오수정화시설이 동해바다 오염 주범?".
* ^ "Three-Month Cleanup for Dokdo\'s Marine Garbage Starts from
June 2 독도 바다쓰레기 청소 6월2일부터 석달간".
* ^ "나무 심고 오물 줍고…아름다운 ‘독도
* ^ Ha 2008 .
* ^ Life in Dokdo Cyber Dokdo
* ^ Vladivostok News report Archived 23 August 2009 at the Wayback
* ^ Sang-Hun 2008 .
* ^ KOIS staff 2007a .
* ^ KOIS staff 2007 .
* ^ Cambria, of New Bedford, Apr. 29, 1849, Nicholson Whaling
Collection; Cape Horn Pigeon, of New Bedford, Apr. 19, 1892, Kendall
* ^ "
North Korea blasts Japan". Global Times. 24 February 2011.
Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 3 December
* ^ Yonhap staff 2011 .
* BAEK In-ki; SHIM Mun-bo; Korea Maritime Institute (December 2006),
A study of Distance between
Ulleungdo and Dokdo and Ocean Currents
(울릉도와 독도의 거리와 해류에 관한 연구), pp.
20–22, ISBN 978-89-7998-340-1 , archived from the original on 12
* BBC staff (20 April 2006), Seoul and Tokyo hold island talks, BBC
* BBC staff (27 July 2008), "Island row hits Japanese condoms", BBC
* Fern, Sean (Winter 2005), "Tokdo or Takeshima? The International
Law of Territorial Acquisition in the Japan-Korea Island Dispute",
Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs, 5 (1)
* Gyeo ngbuk Province (2001), "Introducing Dokdo", Cyber Dokdo,
* Gyeo ngbuk Province (2001a), "Natural Environment", Cyber Dokdo,
* Gyeo ngbuk Province (2001b), "Visit Dokdo", Cyber Dokdo, Korean
* Ha, Michael (26 August 2008), "A Unique Trip to Dokdo — Islets
in the News",
The Korea Times , archived from the original on 4 March
* Kirk, Donald (26 July 2008), Seoul has desert island dreams, Asia
* KOIS staff (12 January 2007), Cell phones give Korean ring to
Dokdo, Korea.net Korean Culture and Information Service (KOIS),
archived from the original on 2 March 2009
* KOIS staff (12 June 2007a), Doosan pours big drink for Dokdo
residents, Korea.net Korean Culture and Information Service (KOIS),
archived from the original on 2 March 2009
* Sang-Hun, Choe (28 August 2008), "A fierce Korean pride in a
lonely group of islets", International Herald Tribune, archived from
the original on 28 August 2008
* Yonhap staff (20 July 2011), N. Korea denounces Japan\'s vow to
visit island near Dokdo,
Yonhap News Agency
* International relations portal
* Korea portal
* Islands portal
Wikimedia Commons has media related to LIANCOURT ROCKS .
Liancourt Rocks travel guide from Wikivoyage
* Dokdo Official Website
* Takeshima (Shimane Prefectural Government, Japan)
* Dokdo Research Institute (Korea)
* The Issue of Takeshima(The Issue of Takeshima, Asia, Regional
Affairs, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
* 10 Issues of Takeshima (Northeast Asia Division, Asian and
Oceanian Affairs Bureau, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan)
Coordinates : 37°14′30″N 131°52′00″E / 37.24167°N
131.86667°E / 37.24167; 131.86667
Territorial disputes in East, South, and Southeast Asia
Islands and waters