The United States restored a neutral name for South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo in the CIA's World Factbook map on Monday, a day after removing its usual reference to the islets in its latest edition.
The World Factbook has long listed the Dokdo islets as Liancourt Rocks, named after a French whaling vessel that sighted the islets in the 19th century, in an effort not to take any side amid Japan's territorial claims to the East Sea islets.
But its latest edition, published online on Sunday, had no name for the islands in its map of South Korea while the reference was kept in the map of Japan, a change that gave an impression that the islets belong to Japan, not South Korea.
On Monday, however, the name was restored in the map of South Korea.
The CIA blamed a technical mistake for omitting the reference the previous day, a diplomatic source said.
Japan has laid claim to the Dokdo islets, which it calls Takeshima, but Seoul has rejected Japan's claim as nonsense as it regained its independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule and reclaimed sovereignty over its territory, including Dokdo.
The Japanese claims have been a key thorn in relations between Seoul and Tokyo, along with other rows stemming largely from the colonial rule, such as the issue of Japan's sexual enslavement of Korean women for its troops during World War II.
Despite the restoration of the reference to Dokdo, however, the World Factbook still refers to the body of water between the Korean Peninsula and Japan as the Sea of Japan, despite Seoul's demand that it should be called the East Sea. (Yonhap)