In the News – U.S. backs single name of ‘Sea of Japan’: State Dept. official

In the News – U.S. backs single name of ‘Sea of Japan’: State Dept. official

By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, April 23 (Yonhap) — The United States remains firm on a decision to use a single name for the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, an official said Monday.

Using only one name to refer to all high seas is a longstanding U.S. policy, the State Department official told Yonhap News Agency on the condition of anonymity.

“The U.S. government uses names decided by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The U.S. Board on Geographic Names’ standard name for that body of water is the Sea of Japan,” the official said,
Washington’s position is a setback to joint efforts by South and North Korea to add “East Sea” to international maps.

A sea-naming conference of International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) opened in Monaco earlier in the day. A South Korean delegation, supported by North Korean delegates, is making a final pitch to the IHO to name the waters as the East Sea and the Sea of Japan alike.
South Korean officials point out that the waters have been called the Sea of Japan in the international community since Japan’s colonial rule of Korea in the early 1900s. They say East Sea is its original name.

South Korea needs to get support from more than 39 of the 80 IHO member states in the five-day session for a change in its naming policy.

The department official said, “We understand that the Republic of Korea uses a different term.”

The U.S., a key ally of both South Korea and Japan, has encouraged the two sides to “work together to reach a mutually agreeable way forward with the International Hydrographic Organization on this issue,” added the official.

But chances are slim that Japan will accept South Korea’s campaign for the use of double names.

Original article can be found here.


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