By Khurram Aziz | Nov 06, 2012 10:05 AM EST
South Korea has voiced its displeasure at Apple for using the Japanese name for the group of islets in the East Sea/Sea of Japan it calls Dokdo.
Most versions of Apple Maps, including the Korean version, use the Korean name for the disputed islets. But in Japan it is referred to as Takeshima.
An unnamed official with the Korean government told The Korean Times, “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.”
“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,” added the official.
Tensions have been high between Korea and Japan over the islets, also known as the Liancourt Rocks in the West, after the South Korean president Lee Myung-bak visited the area in August. Lee cited Tokyo's unrepentant attitude over its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula as a key reason for his trip.
"The sea, which is written only as Sea of Japan, was called East Sea or several variations thereof throughout most of its history. However, when Japan had colonized Korea for 35 years (1910 -1945), Japan changed the name to Sea of Japan without any bilateral discussion with Korea. In that period, Korea had its sovereignty taken by Japan, which led to no way to speak out against it. Since Korea got its sovereignty back, it has continuously taken countermeasures fighting for the name, East Sea," Korean Culture and Information Service said in a statement.
"Since 1990, IHO(International Hydrographic Organization) and UNCSGN (United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names) have suggested that when adjacent countries do not reach an agreement on a term for a shared body of water, both names for the sea are used at the same time. According to the resolution, world’s prestigious publishers and media, such as the Wall Street Journal, Rand McNally, Encyclopedia Britannica, the Los Angles Times, use the term, East Sea/Sea of Japan for the body of water."
Apple released its own mapping service, to rival Google Maps, with its iPhone 5 in September. In June this year, the company, which has worldwide patent suits against Google and manufacturers using its Android operating system, announced that it will no longer support Google Maps for its devices. Since then, the iPhone app has been involved in several 'territorial disputes.'
Both China and Japan have complained over its naming of a disputed group of uninhabited islands known as the Diaoyu Islands. The map has referenced the islands to both countries, depending on the keyword used.
Last month, it also came under fire in Taiwan after satellite images of sensitive military installations on Apple Maps surfaced, prompting the government to call for the Cupertino-based company to blur the images.
The application itself has been beset by complaints since the release of the latest version in September.
Those complaints have centered on Apple Maps' inaccurate indication of places as well as lack of detail. In response, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued an apology where he recommended other mapping services as alternatives including those from its rivals Microsoft and Google.
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