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Petitioners await White House's response on East Sea name dispute
By Lee Chi-dong
WASHINGTON, April 5 (Yonhap) -- The Korean community in the United States said it is waiting for the White House's formal stance on a long-standing dispute over the name of the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

   More than 25,000 people have filed online petitions with the White House, demanding the publishers of public school textbooks here to refer to the waters not only as the Sea of Japan but also the East Sea, according to the Korean-American Association of Virginia.

   In the petition posted on the presidential office's Web page, We the People, the group pointed out, "As a result of gruesome military expansionism, Japan changed 'East Sea' (the original name of the sea bordered by Korea, Russia, and Japan) to 'Sea of Japan' in 1928."

   Despite Korea's liberation in 1945, it added, Japan still refuses to use the term East Sea. The U.S. and many other nations formally call the waters the Sea of Japan.

   "We are still teaching our children a false history that was manipulated by the invader who attacked "Pearl Harbor," the petition reads.

   Officials at the association said they expect the White House to issue its official position in the near future. The White House has a policy of issuing a formal response to a petition with at least 25,000 signatures.

   Last year, the State Department confirmed its decision to use the name supported by Japan and recognized more broadly.

   "The U.S. uses names decided by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and the so-called BGN standard name for that body of water is the Sea of Japan," department spokesman Mark Toner said at a press briefing in August. He also said the Sea of Japan is the "internationally recognized terminology."

   lcd@yna.co.kr
leechidong@gmail.com
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