Liancourt Rocks

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Liancourt Rocks are a group of small islands in the East Sea.[1][2] In Korea they are called Dokdo. In Japan they are called Takeshima.

The islands are currently occupied under the South Korean armed police. The name Liancourt Rocks comes from the French whaling ship Liancourt. The people on the Liancourt made a map of the islands in 1849. Korea and Japan both say that the islands are theirs, and have for a long time. Japan has suggested asking the International Court of Justice to decide, but the South Korean government refused. [3]

Geography[change | change source]

Liancourt Rocks
Disputed islands
Other names: Dokdo, Takeshima
Location of the Dokdo in the East Sea
Location Sea of Japan
Coordinates 37°14′30″N 131°52′0″E / 37.24167°N 131.86667°E / 37.24167; 131.86667
Total islands 91 (37 permanent land)
Major islands East Islet, West Islet
Area 0.18745km2
Administered by
 South Korea
County Ulleung County, North Gyeongsang
Claimed by
Town Okinoshima, Shimane
Population Approximately 22 (as of 2023)

Liancourt Rocks consists of two main islands and 35 smaller rocks.[4] The main islands are called West Islet and East Islet. The western island is the larger of the two. There are about 90 islands and reefs total.[5] The islands and rocks have a volcanic nature.[6] 37 of these islands are recognized as permanent land.[5] The eastern islands formed 4.5 million years ago. Ulleungdo formed 2 million years later. Both are eroding and weathering.[7]

The total area of the islands is about 187,450 square meters. Their highest point is 169 meters on the western islet. The western islet is about 88,640 square meters in area; the eastern islet about 73,300 square meters.[5] Liancourt Rocks is at about 131°52′ East longitude and about 37°14′ North latitude.[5] The western islet is at 37°14′31″N 131°51′55″E / 37.24194°N 131.86528°E / 37.24194; 131.86528 and the eastern islet is at 37°14′27″N 131°52′10″E / 37.24083°N 131.86944°E / 37.24083; 131.86944. The main islands coast lines are 217 km apart from mainland Korea and 212 km apart from main islands of Japan (Honshu).[8] The nearest Korean territory (Ulleungdo) is 87 km away and can be seen on clear days;[4][9] the nearest Japanese territory (Oki islands) is 157 km away.[5]

The western island is made of a single peak. It has many caves along the coastline. The cliffs of the eastern island are about 10 to 20 meters high. There are two caves giving access to the sea, and a crater.[6]

Economy[change | change source]

26 Korean people live on the islands. 20 of them are Korean police.[10] [11] Korean telecom service providers, SK Telecom, KT, and LG U+ have installed stations on Liancourt Rocks to cover the islands in the South Korean wireless telephone network.[12] There is also regular ferry service from Ulleung-do.[13] In 2022, 280,312 tourists visited the islands, about 500 visitors per day.

Although the islands themselves are barely habitable, the Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding them has rich fishing grounds and possible reserves of natural gas.[14] As of 2006, the expected reserves had not been found.[5] A wide variety of fish as well as seaweed, kelp, sea slugs, and clams live around the islets.[6] Major fishery catches in the area are squid, Alaskan pollock, codfish, and octopus.[5][6] There are 102 species of seaweed, although many of these have no economic value.[5]

This area used to be one of the largest breeding grounds of sea lions (Zalophus californianus japonicus) and a good spot for hunting them and also a spot for obtaining abalone at the end of the Meiji period (1868-1912).[15] Until the 1950s, sea lions were observed on the islets by the voluntary guards.[16]

Over 900 Korean citizens say that they live on the islands. Over 2,000 Japanese do the same. However, only two people, a married Korean couple, are living there permanently.[17]

Tourism[change | change source]

Because the government says the islands are a nature reserve, special permits are required for tourists to land on the islets rather than just circling them.[18] There were 1,507 and 1,597 recorded tourists in 2003 and 2004 respectively.[18] Visitors generally come by boat from Ulleungdo.[5][18]

In 2005, the first wedding ceremony was held on the islets. The South Korean couple chose the location to protest against Japanese claims to the islands.[19]

Climate[change | change source]

Due to the location of the isle, the weather of the Liancourt Rocks is known to be harsh. As a result, ships can not dock in winter as the north-western winds are too strong.[4][6] T

he climate is warm and humid. It is heavily influenced by warm sea currents. There is a lot of rain throughout the year (annual average - 1324 mm), with occasional snowfall.[6] Fog is common. In the summer, southerly winds dominate.[6] The water around the islets is about 10 degrees Celsius in spring, when the water is coolest. It warms to about 25 degrees Celsius in August.[6]

Ecology[change | change source]

Like Ulleung-do, the islets are volcanic rocks, with only a thin layer of soil and moss.[5] About 80 species of plants, over 22 species of birds, and 37 species of insects have been recorded on the islets, in addition to the local maritime life.[4]

Since the early 1970s, trees and some types of flowers were planted along with the indigenous flora and fauna.[4] (Trees are required under international law for the islands to be recognized as natural islands rather than reefs.[6][18])

Liancourt Rocks was declared "Natural Monument #336" by South Korea in the 1990s. Some birds actually live on the islands, but most are just using them as a stopover to fly elsewhere. The fork-tailed petrel, streaked shearwater, and black-tailed gulls live on the islands. The population of breeding birds counted on the rocks, however, has been declining in recent years.[6]

In 1999, the islands were designated a special environmental protected area by the South Korean government.[4] They are older than any other Korean volcanic islands, including Ulleungdo.[6]

It was announced in 2005 that three new genera and five new species of bacteria had been identified by Korean scientists in the waters off the islets. The genera are Dokdonella koreensis, Dokdonia donghaenensis, and Donghae dokdoensis. The newly identified species are Virgilbacillus dokdoensis, Maribacter dokdoensis, Marimonas dokdoensis, Polaribacter dokdoensis, and Porphyrobacter dokdoensis.

Strategic location[change | change source]

The islets are of importance not only for economic reasons, but also for military ones. They have occasionally served as a military base, most notably during the Russo-Japanese War. The South Korean government has built a radar station and helicopter landing pad on the islets, enabling it to track foreign naval forces.[20]

References[change | change source]

  1. "S Korea bid to solve sea dispute". BBC News. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2008-02-17. South Korea calls it the East Sea
  2. "Report on the Progress in Consultations on the Naming of the Sea Area between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago". Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (South Korea). 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2008-02-17. the sea area has been consistently called "East Sea" in Korea
  3. "Islands of ire: The South Korea–Japan dispute | Lowy Institute". Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 (1999–2006). Dokdo: A Profile Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 January, 2006.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 Gyongsangbuk-do (2001). Cyber Dokdo. Retrieved 9 January, 2006.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Truth of Dokdo. Story of Dokdo Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 January, 2006.
  7. "독도, 일본보다 빠른 속도로 침몰하고 있다" Archived 2012-02-07 at the Wayback Machine, The Korea Times, 2006/12/01. 손영관교수 `독도ㆍ울릉도 `침몰하고 있다`` Archived 2012-07-07 at, (중앙 일보)JoongAng Ilbo, 2006/12/01.
  8. "Measure Distance on a Map".
  9. DKB News. UL1.jpg Archived 2005-04-15 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 January, 2006.
  10. "Dokdo, Residents & Visitors | MOFA Dokdo". Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  11. "Dokdo, Residents & Visitors | MOFA Dokdo". Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  12. "Carriers team up for LTE service in Dokdo". 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  13. See Cyber Dokdo.
  14. Truth of Dokdo. Importance of Dokdo Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 January, 2006.
  15. Historically,Takeshima belongs to Japan Archived 2014-05-05 at the Wayback Machine, Shimane Prefectural Government, Japan
  16. (ko) "50년대 독도의용수비대가 활약할 당시만 해도 20∼30마리씩 떼를 지어 독도 연안에서 서식하는장면이 목격됐다. 독도의용수비대원이던 이규현씨(82·울릉군 울릉읍 도동리)는 "당시 독도에서 강치(바다사자) 무리를 간간이 볼 수 있었고, 울릉도 주민들은 이를 가재, 강치로 부르기도 했다"고 말했다." 독도에 바다사자 복원한다 Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, The Kukmin Daily, 2006.02.02
  17. See Hankooki[permanent dead link].
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 (1999–2006). Dokdo: Inhabitants and Visitors Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 January, 2006.
  19. Tour 2 Korea Dokdo Tour Archived 2007-06-16 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 18 January, 2006.
  20. Vladivostok News report Archived 23 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine

Other websites[change | change source]

Official sites[change | change source]

Pro-Korea[change | change source]