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(LEAD) U.S. to publish report on Chinese distortion of Korean history: official
WASHINGTON/SEOUL, Dec. 23 (Yonhap) -- A United States government report soon to be published containing China's distortion of regional history involving South Korea was compiled by a U.S. senator and does not reflect America's stance concerning this issue, a South Korean foreign ministry official said Sunday, refuting an earlier claim from Washington that the report was written by a congressional institute with heavier emphasis on Beijing's views.

   Diplomatic sources in Washington claimed earlier Sunday that a report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will first introduce China's assertion that Korea's ancient kingdoms of Koguryo (B.C. 37 to A.D. 668) and Balhae (A.D. 699-926) were provinces of China's Tang Dynasty.

   The report then carries South Korea's explanation that the kingdoms were independent from China, they added.

   Later Sunday, however, the South Korean foreign ministry official said the report was not compiled by the CRS, but by Senator Richard Lugar, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. According to the official, at the request of Lugar, a researcher at the CRS wrote a section of the report discussing Chinese claims on historical boundaries between China and Korea. This particular section isn't an official report by the CRS, the official added.

   "Senator Lugar wrote this report as a reference for other senators, and it has nothing to do with the stance of the Congress," the official told reporters in Seoul. "The report sufficiently reflects our position on historical issues."

   The official added that the report does not take sides in the historical debate, and it simply introduces Chinese assertions and also notes South Korean views.

   "Neither the Congress nor the CRS has accepted China's distorted version of Koguryo history with this report," the official said.

   The report will serve only as reference material in predicting Beijing's role in case of regime collapse in North Korea, diplomatic sources in Washington added.

   Under China's history research project, dubbed as "the Northeast Project," the country has made an attempt to incorporate its own perspective on Korean history concerning Koguryo and its successor Balhae, which ruled what is now most of northeastern China and some northern parts of the Korean Peninsula.

   Seoul rejects the project as China's way to assert its own grandeur while seeking to emerge as an Asian and global hegemon.

   graceoh@yna.co.kr
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