Time to face the truth

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Time to face the truth

An article in a Chinese state publication defined the Korean War as an invasion by North Korea. It is an incredible statement for a state news publication to have made.

In its feature on the 60th anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, the International Herald Leader, a newsweekly of the Xinhua News Agency, said the North Korean army launched the war by crossing the 38th parallel and seizing South Korean capital Seoul in three days.

The article immediately drew attention, with some placing significance on China’s first admission of military aggression by North Korea at the start of the war.

However, the article was soon removed from the weekly’s Web site as well as the sites of Xinhua and other portals. It is suspected that the Beijing government had a hand in removing the pieces, fearing the repercussions from North Korea. But the fiasco leaves us feeling bitter, as our two states could form a constructive and mature partnership based on an accurate acknowledgement of historical events.

The Korean War is a sensitive issue for China. It played a major role in a war that still has the two Koreas locked in conflict. But the fact that the North invaded the South is an established fact based on solid evidence.

Confidential documents from the Soviet Union provide vivid accounts of Kim Il Sung’s ambitious plans for unification through military aggression. Some Chinese historians support the invasion theory, as highlighted by the two-day interview featured in the International Herald Leader article.

However uncomfortable they may be, historical facts must be recorded truthfully and should not be covered up or distorted by political or ideological interests.

Nearly two decades have passed since South Korea and China normalized diplomatic relations, vowing to put the past behind them and start a new relationship as regional partners.

The past is past. In the present, the two countries face the challenge of peaceful coexistence and prosperity in the East Asian region. And trust must be the root of bilateral relations.

China’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on June 25 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, urging the two Koreas to march toward the future by reflecting on their shared history.

Truth will out, as the saying goes. That doesn’t change just because we bury it and look the other way.

The time has come for China to recognize the truth in order to be recognized as a fair and future-oriented global leader.

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