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Japan, Korea Defuse Dokdo Survey Row

Posted April. 24, 2006 03:22,   


Korea and Japan have agreed to discontinue the discord caused by Japan’s hydrographic survey plan for Korea’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around Dokdo in foreign affairs vice-minister level talks on April 22. This will prevent an impending conflict between the two countries on the East Sea.

Yoo Myung-hwan, Korea’s First Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Yachi Shotaro, Japanese administrative vice foreign minister, came to a provisional agreement in talks held at the Hotel Lotte in Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, for two consecutive days. They agreed that Japan would stop its East Sea hydrographic survey scheduled to continue until June 30 and that Korea would register Korean East Sea’s undersea feature names with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) “in a timely manner after thorough preparation.”

The government will not push forward with Korean name registration with the IHO’s Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names to be held in Germany in June for the present, as far as Japan does not provoke such an incident as a hydrographic survey within Korea’s EEZ.

But Japan is in a position that it could resume the survey anytime starting from July, while Korea is planning to go forward with the registration in a timely manner. Accordingly, it is said that the tension between the two countries over the East Sea has not completely been relieved despite the tentative agreement.

The two parties decided to kick off the EEZ negotiations headed by director level officials in May at the earliest, since they think that the recent incident was due to the EEZ boundary line issue, which has not been settled.

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com