The South Korean government is threatening to start using the Argentine name for the seas surrounding the Falkland Islands after the UK government refused to go along with its demands for it to rename the “Sea of Japan” the “East Sea” on its own maps, much to the glee of the Japanese and the incomprehension or indifference of practically everyone else.
South Korea has been running a campaign to harass and cajole various governments, international bodies and public and private concerns into dropping the “Sea of Japan” designation in favour of “East Sea” (as well as “Sea of Korea”) for some years, with very limited success.
For whatever reasons, Britain has apparently been especially recalcitrant in going along with the renaming.
In retaliation, the Korean government is threatening the UK with the terrifying prospect of it writing “Malvinas Sea” alongside “Falklands Sea” in all its maps.
The official explanation of course refrains from presenting the issue as a tit-for-tat attempt to coerce the UK into dropping the name:
“Up to now we have referred to waters surrounding the islands as the Falkland Sea due to them being considered UK territory.
However, due to the unresolved territorial claims over the islands by both the UK and Argentina, we are actively considering calling them the Malvinas Sea as well.”
A Korean government representative puts it all down to the wickedness of island races, displaying just the kind of diplomatic and cultural insight which have contributed so much to Korea’s international popularity:
“The reason the UK clings to calling the East Sea the ‘Sea of Japan’ is because the UK and Japan are of the same ilk in being island nations.”
The Falkland Islands, a barren and otherwise utterly insignificant (saving the recent discovery of oil) set of islands off the tip of South America with 3,000 essentially British inhabitants, are a UK territory claimed by neighbouring Argentina under the name “Las Malvinas.”
This claim precipitated the 1982 invasion of the islands by Argentina’s military junta, resulting in a crushing loss at the hands of the UK and the fall of their dictatorship.
Although most British would probably respond with bloody-minded defiance towards any attempt at coercion, not least over a territory which their nation fought a costly war to defend, sheer lack of interest in the affairs of obscure Asian nations probably precludes anyone there actually taking any notice.
To the Japanese, long the victims of endless Korean bullying over obscure territorial and historical minutiae, this is more evidence of just how crazed their most immediate neighbours are:
“They are nuts.”
“They really have no concept of their own stature.”
“They are pretty brave to make enemies of the UK!”
“Keep going! Soon the rest of the world will know just what a bunch of nutjobs you are.”
“Why don’t they realise this sort of thing only turns people against them?”
“What do they think will happen when they go around threatening whites? They ought to know their place.”
“What are they playing at? The British government can’t just go along with it now, they’d upset their own people for giving in to threats.”
“Just call it what you like in your own country, Koreans. Spare us this nonsense.”
“Have they already stopped trying to get it called the Sea of Korea?”
“Picking a fight with the UK, what are they thinking…”
“Argentina calls it the Sea of Japan anyway…”
“Mar de Japon…”
“Now they can threaten Argentina with calling it just ‘Falklands Sea’ if they don’t change their maps.”
“The Argentines are the real victims here.”
“I want to know what the Argentinians think about all this.”
“They must think they are at the centre of the world. Nobody in the UK will even take any notice of something like this.”
“I cannot believe someone in their government would actually say something like that about ‘island nations’…”
“They just love surrounding themselves with enemies.”
“What imbeciles. Even Japan acknowledges the superiority of the UK.”
“That a race of slaves would start picking a fight with the nation which colonised half the planet – what an age we live in.”
“The rest of the world isn’t going to spoil you like Japan does…”
“What are the British us going to be saying about this I wonder?”
“You can’t get away with treating other developed nations like you treat Japan, Koreans!”
“It’s frightening that it’s actually their government which is doing this stuff.”
“I don’t think any British person will ever even see a Korean map though…”
“Warping history is the Korean speciality.”
“It’s so stupid. Threatening other countries over something like this – it’s only going to make the UK government even less compliant.”
“Europeans don’t even care about some tiny sea over here anyway.”
“They really should understand that this sort of threat will only further inflame the British.”
“I hope the English speaking world hears of this. Koreans are so simplistic that they think weird pestering and harassment is enough to get anyone to go along with their demands.”
“It’s amazing they think anyone cares what they call the area. There is no comparison between the UK and Korea’s international influence.”
“And this is the way they choose to make themselves known to the rest of world?”
From a similar discussion on the matter of Korean cartography:
“Japan as Koreans want it to be”
“Japan as Japanese want it to be”