The Koguryo controversy, national identity, and Sino-Korean relations today

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In July 2004, a Chinese claim that the ancient Kingdom of Koguryo (37 BC-AD 668) was China's vassal state ignited a firestorm of protest in South Korea. The decade-long South Korean love affair with China appears to have ended, as increasing numbers of South Koreans have begun to view their colossal neighbor with new suspicion. What were the causes and consequences of this controversy? Rather than forwarding the usual political, economic, and security explanations, this paper interrogates the deeper identity politics at stake, arguing that the Koguryo controversy implicates the very meaning of being Korean or Chinese in the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
Number of pages15
JournalEast Asia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Existential conflict
  • Koguryo Kingdom
  • National identity
  • Sino-Korean relations


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