U.S. President Donald Trump has recently made another false claim. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal a week ago during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said that Korea “used to be a part of China.”
On April 12, Trump told WSJ that Xi “then went into the history of China and Korea. . . . And you know, you’re talking about thousands of years . . . and many wars. And Korea actually used to be a part of China.”
The false claim was not published by the journal. However, it was later picked up by Quartz, an online news agency.
Trump reportedly said that he then understood how difficult it would be for China to demand North Korea to forsake its nuclear ambitions.
“After listening for 10 minutes I realized that . . . it’s not so easy,” Trump added.
Assisted by interpreters, the leaders of the world’s largest economies spent more than two hours talking about the North Korean nuclear crisis.
It is uncertain to assume what Xi said. Nonetheless, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has made unrelenting efforts to depict ancient Korean kingdoms as part of China’s empire.
“Since Xi became president, Beijing has displayed behavior that seems to idealize the old system of Asian countries paying tribute to China,” a South Korean diplomatic source said.
“This is a glaring historical inaccuracy that has, somehow, not yet enraged South Korea, which is usually extremely defensive about suggestions that it is lesser than China or has ever been dependent on it,” Quartz ironically said.
“We can probably assume that Trump did not have ideas of his own about this matter of Asian history, and in fact got this notion from Xi,” the online news agency added.
There have been instances where the U.S. Senate and Trump administration has criticized China for its hegemonic nationalism.
Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis referred to China’s territorial dispute with other Asian countries over the claim on the South China Sea as “China shredding trust as they adopt a tribute-nation kind of approach where all other nations have to pay tribute or acquiescence to the more powerful nation, the larger nation.”
“It is a fact recognized by the international community that Korea was not a part of China during the thousands of years of historical relations between the two,” according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry official.
Though it is unclear what Xi told Trump during their meeting, China has denied the false claim that Korea was a part of the country.