U.S. Map Proves Korean Claim to Disputed Islets

Japan renounced its claims to the Dokdo Islets in the peace treaty with the U.S. ending World War II, according to a map discovered by a Ewha Women’s University Professor.

Ewha Professor Jung Byung-joon discovered the map in the MacArthur Memorial Archives in Norfolk, Virginia in 2008. The map and a draft peace treaty had been created by the State Department on Nov. 2, 1949 and sent to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, then supreme commander of the Allied Forces. A copy of both are included in Jung’s book Dokdo 1947.

The draft treaty’s “Territory” chapter states: “Japan hereby renounces in favor of the Korean people all rights and titles to the Korea… and offshore Korean islands, including Quelpart [Jeju Island], the Nan How group which forms Port Hamilton [Geomun Island], Dagelet Island [Ulleung Island], Liancourt Rocks [Dokdo Islets], and all other islands and islets to which Japan has acquired title.”

A second U.S. government map discovered by Jung places Dokdo in Korean territory. The map had been drawn by a State Department policy task force on Oct. 14, 1947 to define Japanese territory. Until recently it was believed that this map was created in 1949 or 1950.

Jung said the November 1949 map was the final version. He argues that as a victor in the War the U.S. had the right to determine Japanese territory under the Cairo and Potsdam declarations. “The U.S. only later left room for a territorial dispute because it didn’t clearly delineate Japanese territory in the Treaty of San Francisco in 1951 in a bid to foster Japan as an ally.”

The map find adds to a growing body of evidence refuting Japan’s territorial claims to the islets and will bolster Korea’s position in future arguments caused by Japan’s perennial claim to the Dokdo Islets.