Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There are easier ways to visit Europe

[above: Ignore the atrocious Revised Romanization. "Gando" is pronounced closer to McCune-Reischauer's "Kando" rendition and, since the DPRK still used an M-R variant, it should be Mt Paektusan, not Mt Baekdu. "Pyongyang" is basically correct.]

Brace yourself, kiddies: Ten NGOs are taking to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) their claim that the Kando region (간도/間島; Jiandao/间岛 in simplified Chinese; aka Gando) currently recognized internationally as territory of the People's Republic of China, actually belongs to Korea as it was stripped from the the Korean Empire, then a "protectorate" of Japan, in 1909.

In fact, this movement has been gaining momentum since this month is the 100th anniversary of the Kando Convention signed between Japan and China, the agreement which took Korean territory away and handed it to China. Koreans generally call this and other agreements from the era "null and void," since Korea's leadership was under duress.

China is about as likely to go to the ICJ over this issue as Korea is to go there over Japan's claims to Tokto/Takeshima: zilch. Even if they firmly believe their case is absolutely bullet-proof, there is too much at stake for even the slightest miscalculation.

If this gets any play in the press, expect it to whip up animosity on both sides. It may also put some heat on the millions of ethnic Koreans living in the Yanbian Autonomous Prefecture (in the "disputed" area) or elsewhere in Chinese territory.

Sphere: Related Content

7 comments:

  1. So, technically, it would belong to North Korea then?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not quite.

    If in some hypothetical situation China were to actually lose control of the area and then give it back to Korea, they might choose to give it back to their political ally, North Korea, whom they've diplomatically recognized from the beginning.

    Or they might choose to give it to their increasingly important economic "partner" (heh heh heh... and I say "partner" because everyone's getting screwed) that they've diplomatically recognized only since the 1990s.

    Not that I see them giving it up either way, but I think giving it to the DPRK would be more likely, if it were up to Beijing. If it were up to the The Hague, probably South Korea.

    But even if the DPRK were to control it after the handover, it would technically belong to both Koreas, since both have claims over the entirety of Korea. Ditto if the ROK controlled it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I read this in the Korea Times and was kind of shocked. I thought maybe I read the article wrong...maybe it was something about the lawmakers wanting Kando to be "recognized" as a former Korean territory. But no. This is EXACTLY why China was being so paranoid about historical facts in their textbooks and websites. And all along, we Koreans kept assuring them that "no, we don't want that land back...we just want you to recognize it". In this day and age, there is no way that China will just give up that territory and say "ok~~ you're right..here, it's your's". I pray that this issue goes away super fast as it will just make Korea look like a bitter two-year old going through the "mine mine mine" stage. Don't get me wrong, I'm as proud a Korean as anybody here (I'm sure of it..I even bought a Team Korea baseball jersey!) but I think when conflicts like this arise after we have been living in the modern world for decades it just makes us look bad to the international community.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What if the people that actually live there say, "Screw the Koreas. We want our own independent nation." Would the Hague be more open to their rights, as they've been abandoned by first, Korea, and then, the Koreas, for 100 years?

    Also, I think if the locals there spoke up, China who stomp that line of thinking out quite quickly like they do so well in Tibet.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LastNameKim wrote:
    I read this in the Korea Times and was kind of shocked. I thought maybe I read the article wrong...maybe it was something about the lawmakers wanting Kando to be "recognized" as a former Korean territory. But no. This is EXACTLY why China was being so paranoid about historical facts in their textbooks and websites.

    You mean this exactly why China sanitizes their textbooks so that the "ethnic minorities" whose lands they took over will be faced with massive opposition by the Han Chinese who have been brainwashed into believing that the PRC's current borders have been there for thousands of years?

    Is that what you meant? ;)

    And all along, we Koreans kept assuring them that "no, we don't want that land back...we just want you to recognize it".

    I don't think that was the message. I think the message was that they had better stop saying that the Koryŏ/Koguryŏ and their forerunners were Han Chinese in some way.

    In all seriousness, I do think the PRC leadership is laying the groundwork for usurping the territory now controlled by the DPRK, just in case of collapse, and the rewriting of the Koryŏ/Koguryŏ dynasties as Han Chinese in some way is part of that.

    In this day and age, there is no way that China will just give up that territory and say "ok~~ you're right..here, it's your's".

    Of course not. If they won't vacate Tibet and Xinjiang and give 'em back to the Tibets and the Uighurs, why would they give any part of Kando back to the Koreans.

    I think when conflicts like this arise after we have been living in the modern world for decades it just makes us look bad to the international community.

    Let me remind you that NGO means "non-government organization," and that means anybody could make one. A certain Tokto enthusiast could convince enough Koreans to think like him and form an NGO demanding Tokto be "given back" to Japan. It doesn't necessarily represent the government or the people. I think most Koreans would probably say, "Yeah, I think it used to be Korean, but can't say that anymore."

    ReplyDelete
  6. John from Taejŏn wrote:
    What if the people that actually live there say, "Screw the Koreas. We want our own independent nation." Would the Hague be more open to their rights, as they've been abandoned by first, Korea, and then, the Koreas, for 100 years?

    I don't think Korea actually abandoned them (and a lot of them — maybe even most of them — are primarily descendants of Koreans who went there after Kando was totally absorbed by China).

    Since the grievance is that Korea was stripped of the region by illegitimate means, I don't think The Hague would act to take the region "back" from China unless it was to give it to a sovereign Korean entity. I don't think the grievance, as it now stands, would call for just granting independence.

    Also, I think if the locals there spoke up, China who stomp that line of thinking out quite quickly like they do so well in Tibet.

    Oh, absolutely, and I alluded to such in my last sentence. These foolish nationalists are doing the Chosŏnjok no favors.

    ReplyDelete
  7. North Korea does not represent Korean population. As long 50 million South Koreans didn't agree with China. China has no right to claim " Kando". Kando is Korean territory. The truth hurts thats why even 5 thousand years communist state use every way distort Korean and NorthEastAsia history.

    ReplyDelete

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.