Updated Sep.5,2006 22:53 KST

China Co-Opts More Old Korean Kingdoms

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China appears intent on going the whole hog and co-opt Korea’s entire ancient history. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has published abstracts of research papers on a website that define the era of Gija Chosun (300 B.C. - 194 A.D. or 1126 B.C. - 194 A.D.), Puyo (2 B.C. - 494 A.D.), Koguryo (37 B.C.- 668 A.D.) and Barhae (698 - 926 A.D.) as part of Chinese history.

CASS is the country’s largest research institute under direct control of the Chinese government and has played a leading role in distorting the history of Koguryo through the so-called Northeast Project since 2002. The publication of these papers violates a 2004 agreement between Seoul and Beijing that the Chinese government desist from claiming Koguryo history as its own.

Barhae “was not an independent country but a local government under control of the Tang Dynasty,” the introduction to the 18 papers related to the Northeast Project on CASS’s homepage says. “At the time of its establishment, Barhae was a nation of the Chinese Magya tribe.” The organization posted three papers on Barhae alone.

When it comes to Gija Chosun, which Korean historians regard as a kind of myth, one paper says, “Gija Chosun was a local government established on the Korean Peninsula by descendents of the Shang-Yin Dynasty of China and was an overseas tributary of the Zhou & Qin Dynasties of China.” But it adds unequivocally the kingdom “is where the history of Northeast China on the Korean Peninsula begins.”

In an apparent bid to catch critics on the back foot, the introduction says South and North Korea claim Barhae as part of their own history “to serve their own political purpose of claiming territorial rights.” In a final flourish, it claims China “never invaded” nations on the Korean Peninsula, while it was the Korean realms of Shilla, Baekje, Koryo and Chosun “that expanded their borders to the North and gradually eroded our territory.”

(englishnews@chosun.com )