[KS] Library of Congress Korean Controversy

J.Scott Burgeson jsburgeson at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 21 23:52:15 EDT 2008

I appreciate Gene's thoughtful comments to the List and hope that further discussion on Dokdo-Takeshima can shift away from focusing on incidental rhetorical terms that are merely a distraction in my opinion. I find the sheer mass of maps and different names for the islands under discussion to be quite overwhelming and have just two simple -- and perhaps rather naive -- questions for distinguished scholars of the List: 

1. It is frequently claimed that Japan "stole" the Dokto-Takeshima islets in 1905, but from my understanding they were unoccupied at the time and thus Japan invoked the principle of "terra nullius" in justifying its claim to them. Is it too much of stretch, then, to claim that their occupation was quite separate from Japan's subsequent colonization of Korea?

2. The islets were not covered in the Treaty of San Francisco, so from a strictly legal standpoint wouldn't the islands legally still belong to Japan if sovereignty over them was not legally and formally handed back to the ROK in 1952? Historical arguments aside, is not this lack of legal clarity sufficient proof for the existence of a "dispute" which many on the Korean side claim does not exist?

--Scott Bug


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