[EDITORIALS]Enough guff on GoguryeoThe issue of China’s distortion of the history of Goguryeo has now become a governmental affair. Depending on the situation, this could lead to diplomatic conflict with China. We urge the South Korean government to take strong measures because we believe the issue has passed the stage of being dealt with only at the academic level.
Since the issue of distorting the ancient history of the kingdom of Goguryeo first arose, our government pursued a quiet diplomacy. But this has only led to China’s spreading and advancing the distortion of history. After agreeing in February to solve the issue at the academic level, two months later Beijing’s Foreign Ministry deleted the word Goguryeo from their Web site in describing the three ancient kingdoms that ruled the Korean Peninsula nearly 2,000 years ago.
China has still not responded to the formal protest made by South Korea’s Foreign Ministry in mid-July. Beijing University and Fudan University in Shanghai have already begun teaching that Goguryeo was a regional government subordinate to Chinese imperial rule and that relations between Goguryeo and the Sui Dynasty in China were vassal-lord relations. This tells us that China is premeditating in its distortion of history, and it alerts us to the reality that this is not the time to weigh our diplomatic gains and losses.
As the veil lifts on China’s Northeast Asia Project, the assertions that this is a politically motivated attempt to seek changes among minority ethnic groups seems to hold true.
We have pointed out that it is wrong for China to distort the history of Goguryeo and to link this to territorial issues and show a sensitive and closed attitude. And we have urged that this be relayed to the Chinese government through diplomatic channels. The government must now come up with measures that analyze the political meaning surrounding China’s distortions. In the long term, we must prepare for our response after national unification, and, in the near term, prevent these distortions from being taught in our schools. A pressing matter is the publishing of elementary, middle and high school textbooks of China that stipulate that Goguryeo was part of China’s history. We know from our past experience with Japan’s history books how difficult it is to right the wrong information that is written in text. We must take heed not to let this happen with Chinese history books.