Archeologists said Sunday that they discovered an ancient fortress in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, which is believed to have been used as a military base to annex the Usan Kingdom, the old name of Ulleung Island and nearby Dokdo Islets.
The discovery comes at a time when Japan is seeking to take the issue of Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost islets that it claims to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
According to historic records, Gen. Isabu of the Silla Kingdom annexed the Usan Kingdom in 512 A.D. when he served as governor of Hasulla, the old name of Gangneung, during the Three Kingdoms Period.
There has been a lack of old materials which support that Gen. Isabu conquered the Usan.
The fortress discovered will support that the general left there to annex the kingdom 1,500 years ago, scholars said.
The fortress was found at a site where the construction of a hotel is underway.
Cha Jae-dong, who led the archeological team, said, “The circumference of the fortress is one kilometer. It is the largest Silla earthern fortress ever discovered on the Korean Peninsula. It is presumed to have been built in the late fifth or early sixth century.”
Korea plans to send a diplomatic document to Japan this week, dismissing Tokyo's proposal to take the Dokdo issue to the ICJ, foreign ministry officials said Sunday.
Korea has reaffirmed its stance that there should be no territorial disputes over the islets because they are clearly Korean territory.
President Lee Myung-bak made an unprecedented visit to the islets on Aug. 10, becoming the first Korean head of state to set foot on them. Korea has kept a small police detachment on Dokdo since 1954.