Koh Choong-suk, president of the Society of Ieodo Research
By Kim Se-jeong
The Society of Ieodo Research, a private institute researching a rock southwest of Jeju Island, will hold its first international conference on June 30.
The one-day forum, entitled “Maritime Boundary Disputes in East China Sea: Ieodo,” will examine legal and scientific claims surrounding the rock between Korea and China.
The forum is co-sponsored by The Korea Times.
Ieodo is a Korean name for the rock. Internationally, it is called Socotra Rock and is submerged 4.6 meters below sea level and located 149 kilometers southwest of Marado, the southernmost island of the Korean Peninsula.
Koh Choong-suk, president of the Society of Ieodo Research, will give an opening speech, followed by congratulatory remarks from Im Joo-bin, head of the Korea Hydrographic and Oceanographic Administration, and Chung Jae-jeong, president of the Northeast
Asian History Foundation. Paik Jin-hyun, a judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, will give a keynote speech.
The reef has an observation facility installed in 2003 by the Korean government measuring ocean currents and accumulating data for weather forecasting, fishery and environmental protection and conservation.
According to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, a submerged rock can’t be claimed as territory by any country.
Korea abides by the international law but insists the rock lie within Korea’s exclusive economic zone _ 200 nautical miles from the coast. Therefore, it is free to do anything on the rock as it wishes.
China is opposed to Korea’s claim, saying the reef lies on China’s natural extension of a continental shelf, in complaining about the installation of the scientific facility and its ongoing operation.
In 2006, the Chinese foreign ministry criticized Korea for taking “unilateral” activity on the rock, claiming it “illegal.”
The seminar is part of the Society of Ieodo Research’s serious efforts to raise public awareness of the dispute and accumulating data to support Korea’s claims. The forum will include three sessions.
Guest speakers and discussants include Jon Van Dyke from the University of Hawaii; Kim Young-koo from Ryeo Hae Institute; Park Yong-ahn from the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; Tran Truong Thuy from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam; Ian Storey from the Institute for Contemporary Southeast Asia in Singapore; Eric Lee from Dongguk University; Timothy Dolan from the Catholic University of Korea; Lee Ki-suk from Seoul National University; Kim Byung-ryull from Korea National Defense University; Lee Sang-tae from Korea International Culture University of Graduate; Lee Byung-gul from Jeju National University; and Lee Chang-sup, chief editorial writer from The Korea Times.
The seminar will take place at Ramada Seoul and participants will travel to the rock after the seminar. For more information about the seminar, visit www.ieodo.kr.