Will Korea be Dragged About by China on Koguryo History?

      September 17, 2004 21:51

      The "Chinese Cultural Exchange," a monthly published under the jurisdiction of the Chinese government (Education Ministry), in its September edition issued Wednesday repeated the assertion that "Koguryo was a local ethnic government of China that existed in China's northeastern region." It was 22 days after Chinese vice foreign minister Wu Dawei announced in Seoul on Aug. 24 that South Korea and China concluded the Koguryo history dispute by agreeing on a five-point "verbal understanding." The article evinces that the agreement was empty that the "China will take necessary steps on government level" to prevent the Koguryo history issue from harming relations between the two countries. What we were concerned about turned out to be true.

      Under the Northeast Asia Project since 2002, China has openly attempted to make Koguryo history as that of China's peripheral region. It was wrong for the government to have covered up the issue in haste with a "verbal understanding" devoid of binding force, without mentioning a word about the Northeast Asia Project, the essence of the question, and the deletion of Koguryo history from the Foreign Ministry homepage.

      The Korean government interpreted "China will take necessary steps on government level," mentioned in the verbal understanding, as meaning that "the Chinese side made it clear that Koguryo history distortions will not recur in textbooks or government publications." It has now been made clear that that was merely Korea's wishful thinking. If things have turned out this way whereas the government really thought so, it reveals short-sightedness and incompetence on the part of the government; if the government made that interpretation in a bid to tide the issue over temporarily with a full knowledge that the promise wouldn't be kept, it's a deception of the people. The People's Education Press, affiliated with the education ministry and specialized in the publication of textbooks, in its homepage's "Historic Knowledge" column, too, describes Koguryo as belonging to China. The possibility for China to distort Koguryo history in its textbooks is thus wide open.

      Third-country scholars attending an international academic conference titled "The Status of Koguryo in Korean History" held in Seoul on Thursday also noted China' unreasonable assertion regarding Koguryo, saying, "Chinese historical records record Koguryo as the history of another nation." We are at a loss to understand why the government is nevertheless being only dragged about so passively on a matter like defending our own history. What will Japan, another country distorting our history, take Korea, subject to insult from China over history distortions, for?

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