The one thing they agree upon: “Dokdo is ours”!


Despite being mortal enemies, North and South Korea agree on thing: Dokdo, the group of rocks in the middle of the “Sea of Japan” or “East Sea” is Korean and not Japanese. The international name for Dokdo is officially “Liancourt Rocks”, a name often found on maps to avoid offending either Korea or Japan, but the two main rocks plus a series of smaller rocks are firmly in the hands of the South Korean coastguard, who are there day and night. Also there are a few lighthouse keepers and even one Korean individual officially lives on the islands.

Fig. 1: Sheetlet (KSC4328A) showing both the lighthouse on Dokdo and a map which is part of Korea’s historical claim to Dokdo.

Despite South Korea running the islands, North Korea has depicted the islands on North Korean stamps. That’s because the DPRK still claims to be the only legitimate government on the whole of the Korean peninsula, which also means that the DPRK claims all islands currently within the ROK or South Korea. It is funnily enough therefore North Korea which has shown the South Korean coastguard quarters (part of the lighthouse complex) on a North Korean stamp sheet. Also shown here is a North Korean stamp with a detailed map of the rocks.

Fig. 2: North Korean stamp (KSC4971) showing a detailed map of Dokdo. Notice that this map must be a South Korean map or else at least the information on this map must have come from South Korean sources, as North Korea has no way of properly mapping Dokdo without running into very real trouble…
Ivo Spanjersberg
Currently KSS Publisher/Webmaster, previously KSS Chairman (2018-2019). Living in Amsterdam. I collect Korean revenue stamps, see my website:

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