Online Petition Urges White House to Support East Sea Designation [04-05-2012]
The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) gathered in Monaco for a five-day general conference on April 23. The IHO’s conference is attracting special attention among Korean Americans because it will decide whether to call the body of water off Korea’s eastern shore the “East Sea,” as Koreans call it, or the “Sea of Japan,” as it is known to the rest of the world.

Under the initiative of Korean-Americans, many Koreans have joined a campaign to sign an online petition on the “We the People” platform on the White House’s website, after it was reported that the U.S. and the UK are supporting the name “Sea of Japan.” For Koreans, the name “East Sea” is sacred, given their national anthem asking that “God protect and preserve our country…until Mt. Baekdu is worn away and the East Sea’s waters run dry.”

As of April 22, more than 83,000 Koreans had signed the online petition for the East Sea designation on the White House’s website, just a month after the campaign kicked off. That far outnumbered the Japanese signatories, at 17,000, who petitioned to keep the Sea of Japan label. It now remains to be seen how the White House will officially respond to the petition.