Tok-do or Takeshima?

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: South Korea and Japan staked competing claims to small outcroppings of rock in the Sea of Japan (or East Sea as the Koreans call it) on Tuesday, perpetuating a dispute that has simmered for nearly a century. The rocky little islands (called Tok-do by Koreans and Takeshima by the Japanese) 150 miles from each the coasts of both countries are not significant in themselves, but recognized ownership of the islets -- now inhabited by a lone South Korean fisherman and a small South Korean military force -- hold the key to uncontested exploitation of the rich natural resources thought to surround the island. Both Japan and Korea claimed exclusive rights to the resources today but did not mention the islands in an effort to postpone a territorial dispute.