According to the sources, South Korea countered Japan's move involving Torishima, saying Torishima is a "rock" and as such, cannot be considered a cardinal point for EEZ.
The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea says that rocks unable to sustain human habitation or economic life of their own have no EEZ or continental shelf. Both Japan and South Korea are signatories to the convention.
South Korea in the past four rounds of EEZ talks between 1996 and 2000 said Dokdo is a rock and cannot become a cardinal point for EEZ.
South Korea took this stance because if it pushes Dokdo as a cardinal point for its EEZ, Japan may start pushing for Torishima, and this may result in a greater loss for South Korea with regard to its EEZ in the East China Sea, the sources said.But in the latest EEZ talks, South Korea had pushed for a more extensive EEZ than it claimed in previous talks, changing its cardinal point from Ullung Island, west of the islets, to the islets themselves, according to ministry officials.
In pushing for a greater EEZ, South Korea reversed its position on the small rocky outcrops, saying Dokdo can be considered an island that can have an EEZ.
Japan has called this a "contradiction" from South Korea's past stance, the sources said. It told South Korea that Torishima should be treated as an "island" because it is possible to independently conduct economic activity there.