South Korea has offered to simultaneously use the "East Sea" and the "Sea of Japan" as the official name of the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, a government official said Saturday.
South Korea in 1992 officially named the body of water as the "East Sea," and it has been promoting the simultaneous use of the East Sea and the Sea of Japan in the international community.
"We can not allow the only use of the 'Sea of Japan' and continue to put forth our diplomatic efforts to expand the simultaneous use of 'East Sea' and 'Sea of Japan' in the publications of other countries and private organizations," a government official said.
The official was commenting on a request by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) which has recently asked South Korea to clarify its position on the issue known by May 2.
The IHO is known to be working to make its final report on the issue by June. It has previously designated hydrographic names throughout the world in 1929, 1937 and 1953.
North Korea's position on the issue has not been known but the country reportedly prefers to call it the East Sea only. On Wednesday, the North proposed an inter-Korean meeting of historians to discuss the issue. On Friday, South Korea accepted the North's offer, suggesting that the meeting be held in mid-May.
South Korea is sensitive to the naming issue, because Japan is reinforcing its territorial claim to Dok-do, a group of South Korean islets in the body of water.