China Concerned at Rift with S. Korea Over Ancient
Kingdom, Seoul Official Says
Chinese international relations official expressed concern over the country's
diplomatic conflict with South Korea over the status of an ancient kingdom, a
Seoul official said Friday.
China believes the dispute over the Koguryo
Kingdom (38 B.C.-A.D. 668) should not affect its relationship with South Korea,
Wang Jiarui, minister of the department of liaison of the central committee of
the Communist Party, was quoted as saying by Seoul's ruling party spokeswoman,
Wang made the remark during a brief meeting with Uri Party
chairman Lee Bu-young, who is visiting Beijing to attend the International
Conference of Asian Political Parties, a meeting of regional lawmakers, which
opened Thursday and will last for four days.
"Koguryo is a spiritual home
for the Korean people, and Koreans hope the Chinese Communist Party and its
government will take visible action to solve the dispute," Lee was quoted by the
spokeswoman as saying.
The Koguryo Kingdom stretched from the upper
Korean Peninsula into what is today Manchuria in China. A dispute has arisen
between China and the two Koreas over the historical status of the kingdom. It
has long been recognized throughout Asia that Koguryo was part of a grouping of
three ancient Korean kingdoms along with Baekje and Shilla, which governed the
southern part of the peninsula to the west and east, respectively.
launched a high-budget project in 2002 on the ancient history of its
northeastern region, proclaiming a new perspective that the past should be
interpreted from the modern-day situation.
During the conference, the
South Korean delegation plans to meet Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing
Committee of the National People's Congress, to discourage China from claiming
the kingdom. The meeting is yet to be arranged.
The South Korean
lawmakers are also seeking to meet the North Korean delegation in efforts to
improve inter-Korean relations, which have soured lately due to Seoul's
acceptance of hundreds of North Korean defectors last month.
(Yonhap News 2004-9-3)