DAEGU– A woman on Ulleung Island in the East Sea and her husband were not allowed by a local court Wednesday to move to Dokdo to live with her mother, the sole registered resident of the easternmost South Korean islets.

The Daegu District Court rejected a lawsuit started by the daughter of Kim Shin-yeol, the only registered resident of Dokdo, and her husband seeking permits from authorities to reside on Dokdo.

The daughter, Kim Jin-hee, and her husband had earlier asked the head of Ulleung County, to which Dokdo belongs, to allow them to move to the easternmost islets to live with her elderly mother.

As the county head refused to issue new Dokdo residence permits due to absence of government approval, the couple filed a lawsuit with the Daegu court asking for the nullification of the county’s decision.
But the Daegu court rejected the lawsuit without deliberating on the case, apparently indicating it is not eligible for judicial proceedings.

The couple applied for an administrative permit to move to Dokdo last July, saying they wanted to live with the mother on Dokdo and better take care of her, as she is too old and infirm to live alone on the islets.

Kim Shin-yeol, 83, became the islets’ sole registered resident in October 2018, when her husband, Kim Sung-do, who was called the guardian of Dokdo, died from liver cancer at the age of 79. They began living on Dokdo in the early 1970s and formally registered their address there in 1991.

South Korea has maintained a small Coast Guard unit on Dokdo since 1954 in a show of its effective control of the East Sea islets, but Japan has consistently claimed sovereignty over the territory, which is rich in fish and hydrate gas.

The Ulleung County government said the couple’s request to be allowed to move to Dokdo was dismissed due to absence of official residence permits.

The government said it plans to select a new permanent resident for Dokdo if Kim Shin-yeol withdraws her intention to reside on the islets or dies.

Source: Yonhap News Agency