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China Issued Goguryeo Stamps

Posted December. 04, 2004 13:38,   


It was belatedly reported on December 3 that China had issued commemorative postage stamps featuring historic relics from the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo after Goguryeo relics in China were listed on the world heritage list in early July.

The Korean government announced that it would not make an issue out of the report, saying that such an issuance of commemorative postage stamps is commonplace in many other countries and seems to have nothing to do with China’s attempt to distort historical facts on the Korean ancient kingdom.

However, some blame the government for being too complacent on the issue, given the timing of China’s issuance of the stamps; at a time when the Dong-A Ilbo reported that Beijing omitted the word “Goguryeo” from the official website of its Foreign Ministry. (July 9 issue, Page A2)

Chinese government officials explained that the authorities issued the stamp in question in commemoration of the fact that historic relics of Goguryeo in both North Korea and China were registered on the world heritage list in the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO in June in Suzhou. The postage stamps depicted royal tombs and noblemen’s graves in Jian Province, China in July.

However, Korean authorities did not mention the stamp issue when they reached a compromise on the Goguryeo dispute, though not in written form, with their Chinese counterparts in late August. Furthermore, it was in early this month that Korean officials obtained the stamps and handed them over to the Ministry of Information and Communication.

On the other hand, it seems possible that Goguryo history dispute can cause outbreak of “stamp war” between the two countries because the Korean government plans to issue commemoration stamps of Goguryeo in July next year.

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com