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With the world watching, China claims Paekdu

Products using Chinese name, ‘Changbai Shan,’ to be sold

Jan 29,2007
A Chinese girl lifting up a flaming torch that was lit symbolically from a parabolic shaped disc next to a lake on the Chinese side of the top of Mount Paekdu, which is called Mount Changbai in China, on Sept. 6, 2006. [AP]
CHANGCHUN, China ― The Changchun Asian Winter Games that kicked off yesterday are more than just an opportunity for China to gain experience hosting international sporting events.
The pressroom at Changchun, apart from the usual materials found at sporting events, provided pamphlets on Changbai Shan, known as Mount Paekdu in Korea.
A reporter from Kuwait looking at the pamphlets said that the picture of the snow-covered mountain looked beautiful.
The opening ceremony of the Winter Games included the games’ official song, “Star of Asia.” The lyrics include a phrase that refers to Changbai Shan.
Such efforts are being coupled with large investments in the area in a bid to brand it as an integral party of China.
Park Sun-young, a professor of modern Chinese history at Pohang University of Science and Technology, said China was likely to continue promoting the area to prepare for the possible collapse of the North’s regime and a territorial dispute with Korea. The area is also heavily populated by ethnic North Koreans living in China.

Pamphlets promoting Mount Changbai were handed out at the Asian Winter Games. By Chang Se-jeong

Seoul and Beijing have been at odds in the past over Chinese claims to about 400,000 square kilometers (154,440 square miles) of territory that is roughly centered on Mount Paekdu.
Beijing has claimed the area is “historically Chinese,” but this assertion has irked Seoul as it includes ancient Manchurian kingdoms, such as Goguryeo and a successor state called Balhae, as being part of China’s history.
A new airport named after the mountain is scheduled to open in January of next year. Mineral water coming from Tumen, which is located inside the Jilin province but is not directly related to Changbai Shan, will be provided at the Beijing Olympics next year and will bear the mountain’s Chinese name.


By Chang Se-jeong JoongAng Ilbo [africanu@joongang.co.kr]


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