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IHO to refer to East Sea by number, not name under new rule Updated: 2020-11-17 17:19:15 KST

The body of water between South Korea and Japan, at least at the IHO, will be referred to by a number rather than being called the 'Sea of Japan.'
Seoul's foreign ministry says the International Hydrographic Organization on Monday agreed by consensus to refer to all seas and oceans by "unique numerical identifiers" instead of specific names.
The IHO's chart of sea names, a document known as "S-23," will be replaced by a new chart called "S-130" that will conform to the new rule.

South and North Korea believe that only using the name 'Sea of Japan,' as had been done on S-23 is a reflection of Tokyo's past imperialism because the sea was officially named in the 1920s when the Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan.
Since 1997, Seoul has been pushing to have 'East Sea' used as a co-equal name, and the two Koreas and Japan started discussing the issue in 2017, but little progress was made.
The IHO's latest decision is to be officially announced in early December.

Diplomatic sources in Seoul say the IHO has made it clear that S-23 will no longer serve as a valid standard and will be made available only as historical data.
They said that it is not true that some Japanese media have continued to insist that S-23 is valid even after Monday's decision.
The sources add that South Korea will participate actively in creating the new standard, S-130, and will continue its efforts to ensure that the name 'East Sea' is used widely on the international stage.
In the meantime, South Korea is expected to continue serving as one of the IHO council members until 2022.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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