Ancient map in Spain shows Dokdo as part of Korean territory - Korea Times
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Ancient map in Spain shows Dokdo as part of Korean territory

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President Moon Jae-in looks at a map of the
President Moon Jae-in looks at a map of the "Kingdom of Korea" made in 1737 by a French cartographer, which included Dokdo as territory of Korea, at the senate library in Madrid, Wednesday (local time), during his three-day state visit to the country. Yonhap

By Kim Rahn, Joint Press Corps

Spain has shown President Moon Jae-in an old map that describes Dokdo as part of the territory of Korea, according to Cheong Wa Dae, Wednesday (local time).

The map showing came amid Japan's renewed territorial claim over Dokdo, Korea's easternmost islets, on its website for the Tokyo Olympics.

According to presidential spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee, Moon visited the Spanish senate library after delivering a speech at the senate.

A Joseon-era map of the Korean Peninsula made in 1737 by a French cartographer and now owned by the Spanish senate library in Madrid. It shows the islets of Dokdo, over which Japan has made territorial claims, as part of the
A Joseon-era map of the Korean Peninsula made in 1737 by a French cartographer and now owned by the Spanish senate library in Madrid. It shows the islets of Dokdo, over which Japan has made territorial claims, as part of the "Kingdom of Korea." / Yonhap
The library officials showed Moon the map, titled "Royaume de Coree" (Kingdom of Korea), which was made by French geographer and cartographer Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697-1782), in 1737 when the territory was known as the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910).

The map is a part of an atlas of the Qing Empire (present-day China). Now owned by the library in Madrid, it is known as the oldest map among those existing of the Joseon Kingdom made by a European.

It describes Dokdo and nearby Ulleung Island as territories of the Kingdom of Korea. As it used Chinese pronunciations of Chinese characters for the names of places, an error involving one Chinese character resulted in Dokdo's name being mislabeled as "Tchian Chan Tao." Apparently the mapmaker had confused the Chinese characters for Dokdo's name at the time, Usando, with the characters for Cheonsando.

An official of the library explained the map to Moon and said that the map of the Korean Peninsula in the 1730s may be a meaningful record for Koreans today, according to Park.

Moon looked at the map closely, even removing his glasses. "The President said that this map is a very valuable historical document that shows the Dokdo islets are part of Korea's territory," Park told reporters.

The President expressed gratitude to the library officials for showing him the important document, Park said.

The map viewing and Moon's comment have come amid a renewed dispute with Japan over the islets.

The Tokyo Olympics organizing committee included Dokdo on its map of the route of the Olympic torch relay, and has been refusing calls from the Korean government and civic groups to remove it. To The Korea Times' question about the issue, the committee said that it has no intention to make any correction to the map and claimed it is just a "geographical representation."

While Korea conducted its annual military exercises on and around Dokdo on June 15, the Japanese government took issue with it.

On June 14, an official of Korea's foreign ministry said that the two countries had provisionally agreed to hold a meeting between Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in the U.K. that was held from June 11 to 13, where the two leaders participated. But the Japanese side suddenly called it off, citing the annual drill as the cause of the cancellation.

During the three-day summit, the two leaders had two brief encounters, during which they exchanged greetings.


Kim Rahn rahnita@koreatimes.co.kr


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