China’s nationalistic mouthpiece, the Global Times, is notably less than outraged about US President Donald Trump’s remark that Korea “actually used to be part of China,” calling South Korean media “overly sensitive” for making such a big fuss over the comment.
Trump made the inflammatory remark during an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week while speaking about the 10-minute Chinese-Korean history lesson he was given by Chinese President Xi Jinping which made him realize that the situation in North Korea was “not so easy.”
“[Xi] then went into the history of China and Korea. Not North Korea, Korea. And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years …and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China,” Trump said.
The remark has been making waves in South Korea after being dug up by Quartz earlier this week with politicians and candidates for the country’s presidential election next month calling it “not worthy of a response” and an attack on South Korea’s sovereignty.
“It’s a clear fact acknowledged by the international community that, for thousands of years in history, Korea has never been part of China,” foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck added at a briefing in Seoul on Thursday.
In an editorial published on Friday, the Global Times writes that Trump’s comment has “launched a new wave of nationalism” from South Korean media which has been mistakenly targeted at China.
The op-ed notes that there is no record of Xi’s history lesson and that Seoul should ask Washington for an explanation, not Beijing, before hedging that: “The Korean Peninsula had been intertwined politically, culturally and economically with China in different parts of history. Historians from both sides hold different opinions toward the nature of such a relationship.”
After warning the South Korean foreign ministry not to hype up the matter, the Global Times concludes:
History is there, but some South Koreans want to remove any connection their country had with ancient China and request China’s absolute respect for their interpretation of history. This is narrow-minded.
Chinese people respect the achievements modern South Korea has gained. Why do the South Koreans lack self-confidence? Meanwhile, “Korea actually used to be a part of China” was said by Trump. Seoul should have the courage to question its ally.
Just last month, the nationalistic tabloid penned another editorial declaring that South Korean conglomerate Lotte Group should be driven out of China to show what happens when “foreign forces… jeopardize China’s national interests,” adding that “this is the dignity China should have as a major power.”
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