Thu, Sep 07, 2006 - Page 5 News List

`Historical' claims anger South Koreans

AFP , SEOUL

Government and opposition legislators in South Korea have united to condemn what they see as an attempt by China to hijack their history.

The dispute over Manchurian kingdoms more than 1,000 years old has flared up again after a Chinese government research center published summaries of research papers on its Web site, several newspapers reported yesterday.

The papers from the Center of China's Borderland History and Geography Research claim that two ancient Korean kingdoms -- the Goguryeo (37BC-668) and the Balhae (698-926) -- originated in China and are part of China's history. The kingdoms covered the north of the Korean peninsula and part of modern Manchuria.

The row last surfaced two years ago when the two countries reached a verbal agreement to prevent the issue from damaging generally friendly ties.

"Beijing's continued distortion of history is no longer tolerable," the Korea Times quoted Woo Sang-ho, spokesman for the governing Uri party, as saying.

He called on Seoul to take stern diplomatic measures to prevent what he called further historical distortions, saying the issue could otherwise damage relations.

The main opposition Grand National Party accused the government of neglecting the history dispute.

A spokesman for the minor opposition Democratic Party said that the research represented an attempt by China to steal Korea's 5,000-year-old history and the nation's pride.

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