[LETTERS to the editor]Let’s get our history right

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[LETTERS to the editor]Let’s get our history right

Chinese students are flocking to universities in Korea. According to a recent media report, the number of foreign students currently studying in Korea has reached 50,000 and Chinese are the largest group, 33,650 as of last count, making up 68.3 percent.
I’m filled with emotion to see such a large number of Chinese students now here in Korea as I recall the relations between Korea and China had been full of ups and downs for long years.
I guess I’ve never seen before how much Korea has prospered.
Korea has remarkably grown over the past 60 years from a poor country devastated by war to become a model for success in Asia.
It is now the world’s 13th top economic power, ranking 7th in the Olympics, an IT power and the mother country of the United Nations Secretary General and world artists such as the late video artist Paik Nam-june and Maestro Chung Myung-whun.
A Chinese student who came to Korea from Dandong, the Chinese city at the border with North Korea, was reported the other day to say that he has never been to North Korea, but knows much about South Korea via the Internet, South Korean TV dramas aired in China and word of mouth from acquaintances.
The fact that a growing number of Chinese, who are “utilitarian,” are choosing to come to Korea for study clearly demonstrates that Korea has remarkably developed over the years and its history can be viewed as a success.
However, a controversy on the modern history of Korea that is now going on in the country threatens to sow disunity in Korean society.
It is a shame that Korea’s modern history that is worthy of praise is continually disputed in the country, while even China, allied to North Korea by “blood-ties,” recognizes the achievements that South Korea has made.
What is also hard to understand is that history textbooks i that contain distortions are still left unattended by the Lee Myung-bak administration that took office seven months ago.
Now is the time for us to do away with wasteful disputes and to collaborate and focus on getting the country’s successful history going so that Korea can become a truly advanced country and global leader in the 21st Century.

Sohn Woo-hyun, visiting professor of international studies, Hallym University
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