• Dokdo in the East Sea
  • Educational material
  • Elementary Student Version

○ Let’s take a look at the extent of the Republic of Korea’s sovereignty.

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The Article 3 of Korea’s Constitution states, “The territory of the Republic of Korea includes the Korean peninsula and its adjacent islands.” Korea’s territory consists of the entire Korean peninsula, including North and South Korea. Korea shares borders with China and Russia in the north and is connected to the continent of Asia. The Korean peninsula is surrounded by the East Sea to the east, the Yellow Sea to the west, and the South Sea to the south.

○ Let’s draw the boundaries of the Republic of Korea.

Dokdo is the easternmost point of our nation!
Korea faces China and Russia to the north, lies between the East Sea and South Sea to the south, and faces Japan.
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○ Let’s write the names of Korea’s adjacent islands that are included in the nation’s sovereignty.[note 002]

Location | Number | Island name
East Sea | ① Ulleungdo | ②
South Sea| ③ Jeju | ④ | ⑤ Ieodo
Yellow Sea| ⑥ | ⑦ Yeonpyeongdo
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There are more than 4,000 islands in Korea. In the East Sea are Ulleungdo and Dokdo, which mark Korea’s easternmost territory. In the South Sea are Jejudo and Marado, which mark Korea’s southernmost[note 003] territory. In addition, there is an underwater island called Ieodo where a reef marine science base has been installed. In the Yellow Sea are Baengnyeong, Yeonpyeong, and other islands, as well.
All of these islands are within the sovereignty of the Republic of Korea.

○ Let’s take a look at the extent of Korea’s maritime sovereignty.

Korea’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles from Ulleungdo and Dokdo’s center.
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The line that determines Korea’s territorial waters[note 004], also known as a maritime border, is important. The reason for this is that territorial waters are measured out to 12 nautical miles from the maritime border line.
The extent of a country’s territorial waters is determined using a normal base line and a straight base line based on the shape of the country’s coastline. The normal base line is a line that is revealed along a flat coast or on an isolated island in the sea at low tide. The straight base line refers to the line connecting the outermost island in the case of a coastline that is not flat and simple but wavy or complexly formed. The outermost island that is used to determine the maritime border is known as the base point island.

○ Let’s find out how Korea’s maritime borders are drawn in the Yellow Sea, theSouth Sea, and the East Sea.

base point island, straight base line, territorial limits.
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The coastlines along the Yellow Sea and the South Sea are complex and there are many islands close to the shore. Therefore, territorial waters are determined by a straight line of 12 nautical miles.
Territorial waters surrounding Jeju extend 12 nautical miles from the shoreline revealed at low tide.


base point island, straight base line, territorial limits
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Since the coastline along the East Sea is flat and simple, and there are no nearby islands, territorial waters are determined by the normal base line. Therefore, Korea’s territorial waters include the area 12 nautical miles out to sea as measured from the coastline seen at low tide.
Ulleungdo and Dokdo are both far away from Korea’s coast. In this case, territorial waters are measured based upon the location of these two islands. Therefore, 12 nautical miles of sea surrounding Dokdo and Ulleungdo is Korea’s maritime territory.

■ Let’s see and explain the reason for the difference between the extent of Korea’s ocean territory in the East Sea compared to that in the Yellow Sea and the South Sea.


The Yellow Sea and the South Sea both have complex coastlines and many islands. ('A' region)
The East Sea’s coastline is flat and both Ulleungdo and Dokdo are far away from the coast. (‘B' region)
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Korea’s coastlines along the Yellow Sea and the South Sea are complex and have many islands. The South Sea has a flat coastline with few islands. Because of this, the Yellow Sea and the South Sea have wider territorial waters than the East Sea.
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○ Let’s learn about airspace.

Maritime territory, territorial airspace, land territory, 12 nautical miles
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Airspace is the sky above the land territory and the sea territory, and is very important in terms of airline traffic and national defense.
Sea territory, along with land territory, sets the standard for determining airspace. If sea territory is reduced, so is territorial airspace. Therefore, both maritime territory and land territory are important.

■ Let’s sit in on a class on Dokdo’s territorial rights at the Global History Diplomacy Academy.


Global History Diplomacy Academy (http://peace.prkorea.com)
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[note 002]
Islands around the Korean Peninsula
[note 003]
the most southern part in a certain area
[note 004]
the ocean included in a country’s sovereignty 12 nautical (sea) miles from the end of land territory, or about 22 kilometers out to sea (one nautical mile is approximately 1,853 meters)
[note 002] Annexed islands
Islands around the Korean Peninsula
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[note 003] Southernmost
the most southern part in a certain area
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[note 004] Maritime territory
the ocean included in a country’s sovereignty 12 nautical (sea) miles from the end of land territory, or about 22 kilometers out to sea (one nautical mile is approximately 1,853 meters)
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