Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on Wednesday shrugged off remarks by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping earlier this week that the Korean War was "a great and just war for safeguarding peace and resisting aggression."
Kim told reporters in Seoul, "It's an immutable fact that the Korean War was started by North Korean aggression. I have nothing further to say because the international dispute over the Korean War is over."
A Foreign Ministry official also said, "We have no desire to argue with China over such an obvious historical fact."
In a press release reference the previous day, the ministry said, "That the Korean War broke out as a result of the North's southward invasion is an indisputable and historical fact that has been internationally recognized. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible member of the international community."
Xi, widely tipped as China's next president, was speaking on the anniversary of China's entry into the war.
The commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, also pointed out the Korean War was started by the North Korean invasion. He made the remarks at a wreath laying ceremony at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington on Tuesday.
Sharp said the allied South Korean and U.S. forces still face a challenge from the North. Given that the North has test-fired missiles, conducted nuclear tests and attacked the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan, they should be fully prepared for another provocation.
He vowed the two countries will protect "the peace and freedom" the war veterans fought for.