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  • P-ISSN0023-3900
  • E-ISSN2733-9343

China's Northeast Project and South Korean-Chinese Relations

Korea Journal, (P)0023-3900; (E)2733-9343
2005, v.45 no.2, pp.239-264

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Abstract

The issue of China’s Northeast Project (NEP) is minor when juxtaposed against other important problems in Northeast Asia. However, this issue is more than a simple matter of historical interpretation. The NEP dispute between Korea and China involves many factors, including that of national sovereignty and the balance of power in Northeast Asia. Many Korean scholars insist that the NEP was just an effort to promote “historical hegemony” in a systematic and organized manner by the Chinese government. They believe that China is distorting the history of Goguryeo (Koguryo) in order to secure preemptive rights in the region in preparation for the collapse of North Korea. But, in order for this analysis to be justified, a comprehensive study should be undertaken to determine the role and intent of the Chinese central government regarding the NEP, and China’s policy towards Northeast Asia and the Korean peninsula. Through this analysis, we found sensitive differences between the historical distortions and the political and territorial intent of the NEP. Though the political implications of the NEP have been amplified beyond objective facts, it is hard to deny that China has begun adjusting to the existing realities in the Korean peninsula through the NEP. Therefore, if the two countries do not enter into a conflict, they will be able to seek a rational solution to the issues that have arisen and an amicable relationship can be developed between them. First of all, it is necessary to establish a scholarly basis for a foreign policy that separates historical sovereignty from territorial sovereignty. Another solution is to spread and deepen the Korean-Chinese historical discourse. If handled well, the relationship will develop in a positive way. If the relationship is handled poorly, there will be unpleasant political and strategic ramifications.

keywords
Northeast project South Korean-Chinese relations Goguryeo history Gando problem historical sovereignty

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