Socotra Rock: Wikis


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Socotra Rock
Disputed island
Other names: Ieodo or Iŏdo (이어도/離於島)
Parangdo or P'arangdo (파랑도/波浪島)
Suyan Rock (苏岩礁)
Socotra Rock.png
Socotra Rock location map
Location East China Sea
Coordinates 32°07′22.63″N 125°10′56.81″E / 32.1229528°N 125.1824472°E / 32.1229528; 125.1824472
Total islands 1
Major islands none
Highest point unnamed location below sea level
-4.6 metres (−15.0918635170600 ft)
Administered by
 South Korea
Claimed by
 People's Republic of China
 South Korea
Population none permanent

Socotra Rock Coordinates: 32°07′22.63″N 125°10′56.81″E / 32.1229528°N 125.1824472°E / 32.1229528; 125.1824472 is a submerged rock 4.6 meters (15 ft) below sea level (at low tide) located in the East China Sea. The rock is the subject of a territorial dispute between South Korea, which considers it to lie within its exclusive economic zone, referring to it as Ieodo (이어도/離於島; MR: Iŏdo) or Parangdo (파랑도/波浪島; MR: P'arangdo)[1], and China, which considers it to lie within its exclusive economic zone and refers to it as Suyan Rock (苏岩礁). The rock currently serves as the foundation for the Korean Ieodo Ocean Research Station.[2] A helipad is also located there to allow the research station to be serviced.

The rock is located 149 km (93 miles) southwest of Marado, Korea.

For Japan, Torishima (鳥島) Island, which is 275 kilometers (172 miles) away, is the closest territory to Socotra Rock; and for China, Yushandao (余山島) Island [2], 287 kilometers (178 miles) away, is nearest to Socotra Rock.



A possible reference to the rock exists in the ancient Chinese book Shan Hai Jing, which mentions a "Su Rock" in the East China Sea. However, it is unclear if this refers to Socotra Rock, since the book includes mythological material. There is also no evidence that the island was ever inhabited.

Both "Parangdo" and "Ieodo" are names for the mythical island residents of Jeju island believed to house the spirits of fishermen who perished at sea. historically its considered as korean territory. and The South Korean government has asserted a direct connection between these legends and the modern-day rock, claiming that the traditional saying that "one who sees Parangdo can never return" refers to the danger facing sailors when high waves allow the rock to break the surface.[1][3] Socotra Rock's Korean name was officially designated as "Ieodo" on January 26, 2001 by the Korea Institute of Geology.[4] However, it is unclear if 'Ieodo' was Socotra Rock. Also, it is not evident that the underwater reef was occupied by South Korea in old times.

  • China's Ming Dynasty nautical book Shun Feng Xiang Song records: "Ancient Japanese come to China, if they pass by the 'Suyan', it means they are far from Japan and will see the Grand Tang dynasty soon." However, it is unclear if 'Suyan' was Socotra Rock. Also, it is not evidence that the underwater reef was occupied by China in old times. The book now is kept in Bodleian Library of Oxford University.
  • 1880-1890 Some argues that Beiyang Fleet of China mapped Socotra Rock.
  • 1900: Socotra Rock was discovered by the British merchant vessel Socotra.[1]
  • 1910: Socotra Rock is surveyed by the British vessel Waterwitch, which measures the depth at less than 5.4 metres (about 18 feet).[3]
  • 1938: The Japanese government surveys the rock. Plans are laid for a research station, but these are cut short by the outbreak of World War II.[3]
  • 1951: A joint team of the Republic of Korea Navy and the Korea Mountain Climbing Association (한국산악회) reach the rock and lower a bronze marker bearing the legend "대한민국 영토 이어도" ("Ieodo, Territory of the Republic of Korea") onto its surface.[3]
  • 1952: South Korea promulgated the Syngman Rhee line, which aggressively defined the country's territorial waters as including Socotra Rock, as well as other disputed areas.[5] This was not recognized by the PRC or other neighboring countries.
  • 1963: Yuejin shipwreck: The Chinese vessel "Yuejin" sank on her maiden voyage en route from Qingdao to Nagoya after striking an underwater object. The crew of the ship claimed to have been attacked by a torpedo, causing an international incident. It was later found that due to a navigational error by the crew, the "Yuejin" had actually struck Socotra Rock which was marked on navigational charts at the time.[6] This was not recognized by the Korea or other neighboring countries.
  • 1963 5.1-6.3,Shanghai Riverway Bureau fleet found the shipwreck 1.5 sea miles southeast of Socotra Rock.[7] This move was not recognised by the Korea.
  • 1970: South Korea's Underwater Resource Development Law was enacted, defining Socotra Rock to lie within the country's 4th mining field.[5] This move was not recognised by the PRC.
  • 1984 The rock's location is confirmed by a research team from Cheju National University.[1]
  • 1987: A warning beacon is placed on the rock by South Korea.[3]
  • From 1995 to 2001, the ROK built the Ieodo Ocean Research Station on Socotra Rock despite the PRC objections. Several overflights of the island have since been made by the PRC surveillance aircraft.[8]
  • 2001: the Korea Institute of Geology officially designated the rock as "Ieodo" on January 26, 2001.[4]


According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a submerged reef can not be claimed as territory by any country. However, China and South Korea dispute which is entitled to claim it as part of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). If the rock lies within the Chinese EEZ, then South Korea's construction activities there would have been in breach of Article 60 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In September 2006, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters that China objects to South Korea's "unilateral" activities in the region, referring to Korean government-built observation facilities on this reef island, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has claimed to be "illegal". It was reported in Korea that "Spokesman Qin Gang mentioned that the two countries never had a territorial dispute over the island."[8] On the other hand, Chinese reports notes that Qin Gang said the two countries never had a "territorial dispute," not mentioning any islands.[9]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d "파랑도". Naver Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2006-09-16.  
  2. ^ a b "海洋资源被非法掠夺 中国海洋安全面临挑战" (in Chinese). 河南商报. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2006-10-26.  
  3. ^ a b c d e (Korean) "이어도 소개 (Ieodo sogae, Introduction to Ieodo". KORDI Ieodo Research Station website (This site might have view points in dispute or original research)). Retrieved 2006-09-19.  
  4. ^ a b (Korean) "제주 남방의 이어도와 EEZ(배타적경제수역)포기 (Jeju nambang-ui ieodo-wa EEZ pogi, Ieodo south of Jeju and the surrender of the EEZ)". Dokdo Center website. 2004-06-05. Retrieved 2006-09-22.  
  5. ^ a b (Korean) "국제법적인 고찰". Ieodo Research Station website. Retrieved 2006-09-22.  
  6. ^ (Chinese) ""Yuejin shipwreck" event". People Daily. Retrieved 2006-09-23.  
  7. ^ (Chinese) "Project list". Shanghai Harbor Records. Retrieved 2006-09-23.  
  8. ^ a b "China Chafes at Korean Observatory on Reef Island". Chosun Ilbo. 2006-09-14. Retrieved 2006-09-14.  
  9. ^ (Chinese) 中国反对韩国在苏岩礁海洋观测活动(China objects Korean Observatory on Reef Island)Phoenix TV Retrieved on 2006-09-19.

External links

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