A Map of the Border Dispute Between China and South Korea Over Socotra Rock

China-South Korea, Socotra Rocks Map.png

Coordinates: 32°07′22.63″N 125°10′56.81″E.

I debated what to draw for this map for reasons that will become clear. In the end, I decided to show only water because Socotra Rock, the focus of this dispute lies about 18 feet under water even at low tide) and the nearest borders are miles away. It is the first land dispute I’ve come across with no land involved. For a rock that rarely appears above water, it sure does have a lot of names. South Korea knows it as Leodo or Parangdo whereas China calls the rock, Suyon. Socotra, the commonly accepted name, comes from the British Ship that first “discovered” and charted the rock (more as a navigational hazard than a landmark).

Both the Peoples Republic of China and South Korea claim the rock. By objective measures, it lies closer to Korean territory at roughly 93 miles from the island of Marado (near the much larger Jeju Island). Sucotra Rock lies approximately 178 miles away from China's nearest island, Yushandao, almost double the distance between Korea and the rock. In the late 1990’s, Korea built a helipad and “Ocean Research Station” directly over the rock. Here is an image of the station.

Wikipedia claims that China later burned that station down in a raid. I was hoping to be able to see something in a satellite view on Google Maps but I think the rock is too small and insignificant to be covered by their images.