Koguryo Is Korean History, Says Chinese Textbook Editor

A Chinese textbook editor said Tuesday that the ancient kingdom of Koguryo (37 B.C–A.D. 668) belongs to Korean history. He emphasized the importance of more academic exchanges and communication between the two countries to prevent possible distortion of history in their textbooks. During a seminar held at the Academy of Korean Studies on the southern outskirts of Seoul, Dr. Liu Dongming, editor of the history curriculum at Beijing Normal University Press, China, voiced concerns about Beijing’s recent attempts to claim the ancient kingdom as part of its own history. Liu is now visiting Seoul to attend an academic fellowship event, Liu explained that in most Chinese history textbooks, Korea is described as a country which had kept 5,000 years of history including Kojoson (B.C. 2333–B.C. 108) and the Choson Kingdom (1392-1910) and had achieved rapid economic development since World War II.

Organized by the Center for Information on Korean Culture affiliated with the Academy of Korean Studies, the seminar was held as part of the fellowship event for textbook specialists in South Korea and China. Other Chinese guests include Dr. Ye Zi, vice editor-in-chief, and Xian Ping, marketing coordinator. Liu’s speech, entitled ``Common Descriptions of Korea in History Textbooks of China,’’ focused on how Korean history is described in different kinds of Chinese textbooks. It was followed by a speech delivered by Lee Gil-sang, director of the Center for Information on Korean Culture, under the title of ``Koguryo in Textbooks of China, and China in Korean History Textbooks for Middle Schools in Korea.’’ ``Most of the Chinese textbooks say that Korea has kept close and stable relations with China since ancient times and the friendly relations between the two nations have continued and developed,’’ Liu said. He said that since textbooks are ``one of the main media for transmitting knowledge and civilization, Chinese educational departments will pay a great deal of attention to the construction of textbooks.’’ Liu stressed that Seoul and Beijing should ``strengthen academic exchanges and communication, reduce misunderstandings, prevent the act of distorting history textbooks and cooperate to make accurate textbooks.’’

By Kim Tae-jong / Staff Reporter

(Korea Times 2004-9-7)