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The legacy of long-gone states
Andrei Lankov, The Asia Times Online
Hong Kong, People's Republic of China
September 16, 2006

Excerpted from the Asia Times online.

When South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last Sunday, what did they talk about? The likelihood of a North Korean nuclear test that might trigger a nuclear-arms race in East Asia? Or perhaps the tremendous growth of bilateral trade that has made China the most important trade partner of Seoul?

Logical assumptions, but wrong. As the official press release revealed, the two leaders spent a large part of their meeting talking about ancient history, in the most literal sense of the word. President Roh expressed his dissatisfaction about some conclusions of Chinese archeological teams and publications of a provincial research center dealing with events 2,000 years old.

This interest in bygone eras is understandable, since a new round of the "history war" between Korea and China erupted early this month. Its participants are deadly serious and very emotional, but for an outsider this struggle appears bizarre. After all, the major objects of the rivalry are the long-extinct kingdoms of Koguryo and Parhae, which existed in the 1st millennium AD in what are now China's northeast and North Korea.

A full report can be cound at the Asia Times online.

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