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China rewrites history of Korean War

June 28, 2010

Malcolm Moore in Shanghai
The Telegraph
June 25, 2010

On the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, China
has finally rewritten its history of how the
conflict began to point the finger of responsibility at North Korea.

Until now, the Chinese have staunchly supported
their North Korean allies, along whose side they fought in the war.

China previously insisted that the war was waged
out of American aggression. The official title of
the conflict on the mainland is "The War to Resist America and Aid Korea".

Chinese history textbooks state that the Korean
War began when "the United States assembled a
United Nations army of 15 countries and defiantly
marched across the border and invaded North
Korea, spreading the flames of war to our Yalu river."

The official Chinese media stated for the first
time that it was North Korea that dealt the first
blow. In a special report, Xinhua's International
Affairs journal said: "On June 25, 1950, the
North Korean army marched over 38th Parallel and
started the attack. Three days later, Seoul fell."

China and North Korea were "as close as lips and teeth," said Mao Tse-tung.

The Korean War, which has never formally ended,
has been largely forgotten in the West, despite
the deaths of between two and three million people in the fighting.

In Asia, however, the memory of the war is still
felt strongly and has sustained a continuing
alliance and emotional bond between Beijing and Pyongyang.

While many Chinese historians privately subscribe
to the view that North Korea was the aggressor in
the war, driven by Kim Il-sung's desire to unite
the Korean peninsula under a Communist banner,
the matter remains highly sensitive.

"It is not convenient for me to comment on the
matter," said Zhang Liangui, a leading professor
of Korean studies at the Communist Central Party
School in Beijing. "I was not aware of this
timeline [in the Xinhua article]. As far as I am
aware there has been no change to the official view on the war."

Meanwhile, the Global Times, a government-run
newspaper, said it was "high time to renew and
strengthen efforts by Chinese scholars to
discover the truth about the Korean War."

In Seoul, South Korea held an official ceremony
to remember the war and Lee Myung-bak, the
president, paid tribute to the dead. "Sixty years
ago, North Korea's communists opened fire on a
weekend's dawn when all people were sleeping peacefully," he said.

Meanwhile, across the border, North Korea put
across its own view of the conflict. Under the
headline: "US, Provoker of Korean War," the
country's state news agency accused Washington of
starting the war with a surprise attack.

"All the historical facts show that it is the US
imperialists who unleashed the war in Korea and
that the United States can never escape from the
responsibility," the Korean Central News Agency said.
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