Editorial: Our Dispute With China Isn’t About Ancient History – Chosunilbo

From The Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition):

The Northeast Asian history war is getting serious. A recent case in point is Chinese Netizen’s denunciation of South Korean short-track athletes at the Winter Asian Games in Changchun, China for holding up a banner saying Mt.Baekdu belongs to Korea. As if they didn’t have enough trouble from the Japanese, they said, now the Koreans are giving them grief as well. Koreans feel much the same way about the Chinese.

Our Education Ministry’s decision to re-write history textbooks to stress the historic reality of ancient Korea by advancing the start of the Bronze Age on the Korean Peninsula by about 1,000 years, meanwhile, is not unrelated to efforts to counter China’s Northeast Project, which many here feel attempts to co-opt Korean history for China. China’s actions are extremely, well, Chinese. Compared with the Japanese, with their hit-and-run strategy, the Chinese care about no one. Of course, the Korean approach to the question is also very Korean.

To a history scholar, the assertion that China and Japan have distorted history and that Korea is right is narrow-minded. We, too, have distorted or hidden a lot of our unfortunate past. Nonetheless, few Koreans can suppress a sense of indignation at the recent developments. Without blindly wanting to side with Korea, we should not unconditionally denigrate the emotional Korean response. There are good reasons for it. The current history war is evidently not a simple confrontation between good and bad. But Korea, being on the defensive and asking “What have we done in the meantime?,” does not look quite as objectionable as China and Japan. [Full Text]

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