China goes too farChina, backed by its newfound clout in the global arena, has gone too far. Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013, recently called the 1950-1953 Korean War “a just war to defend peace against aggression from the United States.”
He also stated, “It was also a great victory gained by the united combat forces of China’s and [North Korean] civilians and soldiers, and a great victory in the pursuit of world peace and human progress.”
Xi made the remark in a recent meeting with veterans of the Chinese People’s Volunteers held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of their role in supporting communist North Korea as it fought the U.S.-led coalition and South Korea.
What may have been brushed aside as words of comfort to the veterans became a controversial diplomatic issue after the Chinese Foreign Ministry reaffirmed Xi’s comment as China’s official position on the Korean War.
This stance is distressingly distorted and alarming. That North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, is an established fact supported by a raft of historical evidence, testimony and records. The UN Security Council condemned the invasion and endorsed the U.S.-led force to help South Korea defend itself.
What is “just” and “great” is the commitment and sacrifice made by the soldiers from 16 UN member countries, who were fighting in a strange land in defense of peace. Destroying peace and conducting a brutal war is not. To claim otherwise is misleading and menacing.
The Chinese government is said to refer to the Korean War in two different stages based on the time of the allied forces’ engagement.
According to an article in the state-run People’s Daily contributed by a military scholar, China believes Korea’s civil war became a global event because of the involvement of the United States. The Chinese sent troops to “fight against U.S. imperialism.”
Whatever logic they give to justify their backing of an invasion is hardly worthy of approval from the outside world. If they have any second thoughts about the war, they should at least keep mum on the affair.
New documents have been discovered that say that North Korean founder Kim Il Sung consulted and had the blessing of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and China’s Mao Zedong to invade South Korea. China should actually bow its head to apologize as an accomplice in the war.
To instead claim that the war is just and great is a provocation to the international community and an insult to South Korea. If China wants to continue to have South Korea as a partner in efforts to bring about peace in the region, it must first change its perspective on history.