Catholic church, Marado

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This is the Catholic church on Marado, South Korea’s most southerly island, quite different from any other building on the island and looking as if it is growing out of the landscape. It’s a surprising structure on an island with such a small number of residents. Indeed, most of the buildings are seafood restaurants catering to the boatloads of visitors who make the boat trip to the island each day.

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Marado – South Korea’s southern point

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Half an hour by boat from Songaksan is the southern-most island in Korea, Marado. It’s a very pleasant place on a mild December day – a rocky, grassy place that’s initially reminiscent of Pembrokeshire’s Skomer Island.

Unlike Skomer, it does have several restaurants, at least a couple of B&Bs, a Buddhist temple (more of which in another post), a Catholic church, a lighthouse, and one football goalpost. That list might suggest it’s a reasonably large community, but that’s mainly for the boatloads of tourists. It takes an hour to wander round the island, including time to scramble over some rocks and take it all in.

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As I said before, not very far south (beyond the fishing boats in the photo below) is the newly-declared Chinese air defence zone in the East China Sea. Now South Korea have extended their own air defence zone so that it overlaps the Chinese one. I’m really not sure that doubly-defended is twice as good as singly-defended.

There’s also conflict further south again, where China is in dispute with the Philippines, which The Guardian describes as “one of five countries challenging Beijing’s claims of ownership over the oil-rich South China Sea.”

Ah! Oil, now it begins to make sense.

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