NGO Opens Website to Promote Wider int'l Use of East Sea Name | Be Korea-savvy

NGO Opens Website to Promote Wider int’l Use of East Sea Name

The first page of VANK's new website,, dubbed "East Sea is the Republic of Korea." (Image: Yonhap)

The first page of VANK’s new website,, dubbed “East Sea is the Republic of Korea.” (Image: Yonhap)

SEOUL, June 2 (Korea Bizwire) – A Seoul-based nongovernmental organization said Thursday that it has created a new website to promote the wider international use of “East Sea” as the name of the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

VANK, or Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, said that the opening of the website, dubbed “East Sea is the Republic of Korea,” is intended to help bolster South Korea’s persistent call for the concurrent use of the East Sea, along with the Sea of Japan, in maps and textbooks published by countries worldwide.

At its general conference held in Monaco on April 24-28, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) held discussions on the wider use of the term East Sea but failed to draw any conclusions. Instead, the IHO agreed to set up an unofficial consultative body consisting of the relevant countries for further debate on the issue for three years. Seoul first raised the East Sea name issue at the IHO conference in 1997.

Officials at VANK, a cyberdiplomacy organization of 120,000 Korean and international members united under the purpose of properly introducing Korea to the rest of the world, said that Seoul and Tokyo are expected to engage in fiercer diplomatic competition over the East Sea at the IHO and other venues over the next three years.

“In addition to diplomatic efforts at the IHO, it has become more important to campaign for exclusive or concurrent use of East Sea in the world’s major maps, geography textbooks, media and portal sites,” said VANK chief Park Gi-tae.

“Through the new website, South Koreans at home and abroad will further strive to promote wider use of the East Sea in the international society,” Kim said.

The website consists of four main sections — learning, protection and promotion of the East Sea, and VANK’s East Sea name activities, he noted.

The Japanese government has been promoting the exclusive use of the Sea of Japan in cyberspace through videos produced in 10 foreign languages.

Historians here say that the Korean name has been used for more than 2,000 years. The Japanese name began to be adopted only in the 19th century as the country emerged as an imperial power and then colonized the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945.


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