A feature article from a Chinese magazine was struck from the Internet after news spread that it stated that the Korean War was started by North Korea’s invasion of the South.
The lengthy feature in Xinhua’s International Herald Leader, timed for the 60th anniversary of the start of the war, had a time line that stated: “The North Korean military crossed the parallel on June 25th, 1950 and Seoul was taken in four days.” The article was widely distributed among Chinese news portals and agencies.
After news of the story spread in Korean yesterday, the original article was found to have been deleted from all Web sites it had been posted on, including Xinhua.
Textbooks for Chinese students still teach that the conflict was a civil war started by an invasion by the United States of the North. Pyongyang has always insisted the same thing.
A diplomatic source in Beijing who asked for anonymity said the initial publishing of the article received a lot of attention because it was “the most detailed and direct explanation of the North’s invasion of the South in the Korean War by a [Chinese] state-run news agency.”
Kim Young-hwan, a professor of Chinese studies at Namseoul University said, “If the Chinese government did erase the articles, it may be because they’re being sensitive to North Korea’s stance.”
The International Herald Leader is a “Xinhua newspaper with an emphasis on international relations, especially relations between China and other countries,” according to Danwei, a popular Web site focusing on Chinese media. Xinhua News Agency is China’s official news agency and the government’s mouthpiece.
Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was asked by a reporter in Beijing about China’s position on the cause of the Korean War and replied, “We have already made a clear conclusion and we must go into the future, with history as our looking glass.”
A string of telegrams exchanged between the Kim Il Sung and Stalin regimes from 1949 to 1954 released by the Russian government in the 1990s provided clear evidence of the planning for the war.
By Christine Kim, Chang Se-jeong [firstname.lastname@example.org]