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  • 작성자 사진Kim Min-ji

[History] We Are Descendants of Goguryeo and Balhae!

No.160 / Oct 17, 2022

In April 2017, Xi Jinping said, “South Korea has historically been part of China.” when a meeting with the United States (U.S.) former president Donald Trump. At the time, South Koreans were outraged by Xi Jinping’s distorting remarks about history, and a similar incident reoccurred in 2022.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in Korea and the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan’s national religion, an event known as the “Auspicious Metals of the East: Korea, China, Japan” was held on July 26. China manipulated the timeline of Korea’s ancient history as provided by the National Museum of Korea and exhibited it as if it had been officially provided by the Korean government. The National Museum of Korea, which belatedly recognized this fact, insisted that China correct it. However, instead of correcting the facts, the Chinese government completely removed the timeline to cover up the incident. The timeline China exhibited omitted Goguryeo and the descendants of Goguryeo, Balhae, and the explanation of the three Korean ancient kingdoms also included several errors. The timeline misled people to falsely understand that Korea’s ancient national origin is as a subordinate Chinese state. The Northeast Project of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is an official national project that was carried out from 2002 to 2006 but is still ongoing. China made distorted claims that Goguryeo was a marginal minority in China, that China ruled Baekje, and that Chinese exiles founded the country of Silla. However, Goguryeo caused the Chinese Sui Dynasty and defeated the Chinese Tang Dynasty, a unified dynasty that came after the Sui. Baekje was an ancient Korean country that won all the wars fought against China’s Northern Wei dynasty, and Silla was an ancient Korean country that unified the three kingdoms; its founder was Bak Hyeokgeose. The reason China is trying to distort and insert itself into the history of the Korean Peninsula is to prevent territorial disputes that may arise if the Korean Peninsula is unified under South Korea after the collapse of North Korea. Gando, a Chinese territory, was originally a Joseon Dynasty territory, but its sovereignty was transferred to China when Japan was forced to sign the Gando Convention (1909) in the Japanese colonial era. Nevertheless, since the treaty is a compulsory and excluded the Joseon Dynasty, Korea can claim invalidity of the treaty under international law. In 1962, North Korea signed a border agreement to recognize Gando as a Chinese territory, but this can also be nullified if South Korea-led unification is achieved. The reason China is so obsessed with Gando is because it is currently composed of Han Chinese and 55 minorities. As ethnic minorities account for more than half of China’s territory, China is concerned that this could have a domino effect on other minorities if the ethnic Koreans living in Gando demand independence after the reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

Although a similar incident was already heralded many years ago, the Korean government remains complacent about its historical consciousness. If it is the case that a diplomat who checks other countries’ fulfillment of promises could not be dispatched due to COVID-19, exhaustive non-face-to-face verification should have been done. In many cases, Goguryeo and Balhae have already been historically marked in connection with China in accounts of world history, such as that of the National Geographic. Not only the government but also individual people should be wary of a complacent attitude toward protecting their own history because no change in this regard can be felt now.


By Kim Min-ji, AG Senior Editor

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