Mt. Paektu Raises Treaty QuestionsIn Korean mythology, the foundation of Koguryo is explained in the story of Habaek''s daughter Yuhwa, who was expelled from the family for having an affair with Haemosu. The Amnok River was the place where the romance between Yuhwa and Haemosu took place. Woobalsu, where Yuhwa gave a birth to Jumong, who founded Koguryo after leaving the family, is known located south of Mt. Taebaek. Mt. Paektu is also known as Mt. Taebaek. The famous mountain has other names as well. Many tribes were living in settlements scattered around the mountain, and it was difficult to express the various aspects of the mountain in a single name. It has been said that Mt. Kumgang evokes intelligence, while Mt. Paektu is sacred.
The myths surrounding Koguryo seemed to have affected Qing Dynasty era. In Qing mythology, three fairies were bathing in a pond east of Mt. Baekdu. A magpie brought a red fruit to the youngest fairy, and she became pregnant after eating the fruit. Because of her added weight, she could not ascend to heaven and gave a birth to a son, who later became the founder of the Qing Dynasty.
Our ancestors believed that the nation''s territory included not only Mt. Paektu, but also the areas of Manchuria, where Koguryo and Palhae had ruled in ancient times.
After having a conflict with Qing, which also revered Mt. Paektu as the holy place of the nation, King Sukjong of the Chosun Dynasty built a monument to mark the border at Mt. Paektu in 1712. However, the conflict continued due to the differences in interpreting the words of the monument. Japan later exchanged the Kando region and most parts of Mt. Paektu including Cheonji, with Qing in return for the rights of railroad and mining developments in Southern Manchuria after signing the Kando Treaty in 1909.
Kang Eung-hwan of the Chosun Dynasty wrote a poem expressing remorse of the territories: Waters from Mt. Paektu became the Amnok River. What is the boundary in Cheonji for? It is a shame that no one has regained the lost territories of Liadong.
Another famous Korean poet Kim Sang-yong also wrote a poem after seeing the monument at Mt. Paektu while the area was under Japanese imperialist rule, when the entire nation was occupied by foreign power, not to mention Mt. Paektu and Manchuria.
JoongAng Ilbo exposed the border treaty signed between North Korea and China in 1962. The entire nation is now paying close attention to the treaty, 38 years after the conclusion. In order to be prepared for reunification, which may come unexpectedly or gradually, we need to be informed about the treaties between North Korea and other foreign countries as much as possible.