Korea has protested to Apple Inc. over its new English-language mapping service for the iPhone, which shows both Korean and Japanese names for Dokdo, the South's easternmost islets, an official said Wednesday.
Apple's Korean unit recently notified the Korean government that its new English map service under the iOS 6 mobile operating software simultaneously uses Korean, Japanese and a Franco-English name, the Liancourt Rocks, to describe Dokdo, which is also claimed by Japan.
Apple's Korean-language map service retains the Korean name of Dokdo, while its Japanese-language service uses the Japanese name for Dokdo, according to the foreign ministry official.
In previous versions of the English map service, the Korean name of Dokdo was used to describe the islets, which lie closer to South Korea in the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.
"We protested to Apple's Korean unit that, because Dokdo is clearly an integral part of our territory, the new reference is unacceptable and it should be marked as the Korean name of Dokdo wherever it is searched for," the official said.
"Although Apple is a private organization, this is an issue that our government cannot concede on. So, we will continue reiterating our stance and requesting Apple to accept our demand," the official said.
Public relations officials at Apple's Korean unit were not immediately available for comments.
Asked whether the Japanese government weighed in on Apple's change of reference for Dokdo, the official replied, "Japan recently changed to an aggressive mode from a defensive mode with regard to the naming issue."
The new mobile operating software by Apple powers its new iPhone 5 and can be installed to upgrade other Apple's mobile devices.
Diplomatic tensions remain high between Seoul and Tokyo over Dokdo in the East Sea following an unprecedented visit there in August by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who cited Tokyo's unrepentant attitude over its brutal 1910-45 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula as a key reason for his trip.
Dokdo has long been a thorn in relations between the two countries. Korea keeps a small police detachment on the islets, effectively controlling them.
The move by Apple comes less than a week after Korea demanded Google Inc. restore the name of Dokdo on its English-language Web mapping service, Google Maps.
Google recently updated Google Maps and replaced the name of Dokdo with the Franco-English name, the Liancourt Rocks, while removing the Korean address of Dokdo. Its Korean-language service, however, retains both the Korean name and address of Dokdo. (Yonhap)