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Apple, Google Maps Run Afoul of South Korea

A South Korean activist holds a map of Dokdo islets during a rally denouncing Japan's sovereignty claim on the islets, in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, September 10, 2010.
Some map applications are stirring up trouble, virtually erasing South Korea's claims to an island chain also claimed by Japan.

Dokdo Takeshima Map, islands claimed by japan and south korea
Dokdo Takeshima Map, islands claimed by japan and south korea
Both Apple and Google have removed the Korean name for the islands from their English and Japanese map services.

South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said Thursday the government is launching a formal objection with Apple.

"We greatly regret Apple's policy [that it will have three different names for the disputed Dokdo islet]. At the moment we heard Apple's new policy, our government official clearly expressed that we cannot accept it," he said.

The small island chain is known as Dokdo in Korean and as Takeshima in Japanese. The English versions of the map applications now identify the islands as Liancourt Rocks.

Park Hye-jung, a 26 year-old student from Seoul, says Koreans have a right to be upset.

"I think it is wrong to indicate Dokdo, located in our territory, as Takeshima or any other name," he said. "Those [Apple and Google] are companies which people from all over the world use, and their indicating Dokdo as Takeshima or as another name, not ours, will make it difficult for us to let people from all over the world know that Dokdo is under South Korean sovereignty."

Japanese officials have been increasingly aggressive in pushing for the use of the Japanese name for the islands as they press their claims to the territory.