[FOUNTAIN]Can Korea claim to own Manchuria?Scene 1: In the year 778, a hundred years after the fall of Goguryeo, the kingdom of Chichung emerged in Shandong province, China. The founder of the kingdom was a man from Goguryeo named Lee Jeong-gi. He had over 100,000 troops and ruled the Shandong, Anhui, and Jiangsu regions at its peak. Forty-one years later, the kingdom fell.
Scene 2: In Jian, Jillin province, China, stands a 6.39- meter (21-foot) monolith. The 37,000-ton stone is a tombstone of Gwanggaeto the Great. Also known as Yeongrak, the king of Goguryeo wrote a glorious history of conquests. In 395, the fifth year of his reign, the great king of Goguryeo led his army across the Liao River and defeated the Kitans in the northwest. In the following year, he subjugated the capital of the kingdom of Baekje, and in 400, he captured the valley of the Nakdong River. In 404, Goguryeo was invaded by the army of the Late Yan, but his retaliatory attack two years later regained the lost territory and wrested away land of the Late Yan. In 407, he mobilized 50,000 troops to conquer six cities of Baekje. In the 20th year of his reign, he subjugated East Buyeo, which was located in the valley of the Mudan River.
Scene 3: King Jangsu, who succeeded to the throne of Goguryeo after the death of Gwanggaeto the Great, moved the capital from Guknaeseong in Manchuria to Pyeongyang in 427. The kingdom maintained amicable relations with the Late Yan, and when its neighbor perished, Goguryeo accepted the exile of the former king of the fallen kingdom. Goguryeo subjugated Baekje and fought with Silla in the Korean Peninsula. If the king had moved the capital to the Liaodong province in the northwest, Goguryeo could have expanded its territory no less than King Gwanggaeto did.
Which of the three scenes encompassing the Shandong, Manchuria, and Pyeongyang is the true history of Goguryeo? Koreans do not intend to claim Manchuria because it once had been under Goguryeo’s rule. Are we being too modest?
China claims that everything that happened in its current domain belongs to its own history, and now says that Goguryeo was a vassal state on its frontier, not in Korea. Is China still the innocent, good neighbor? It is time for we Koreans to reconsider our one-sided love for China.
by Ahn Sung-kyoo
The writer is a political news deputy editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.