On the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, China has finally rewritten its history of how the conflict began to point the finger of responsibility at North Koreahttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/7853746/China-rewrites-history-of-Korean-War.html
Until now, the Chinese have staunchly supported their North Korean allies, along whose side they fought in the war.
China previously insisted that the war was waged out of American aggression. The official title of the conflict on the mainland is "The War to Resist America and Aid Korea".
History textbooks state that the Korean War began when "the United States assembled a United Nations army of 15 countries and defiantly marched across the border and invaded North Korea, spreading the flames of war to our Yalu river."
The official Chinese media stated for the first time that it was North Korea that dealt the first blow. In a special report, Xinhua's International Affairs journal said: "On June 25, 1950, the North Korean army marched over 38th Parallel and started the attack. Three days later, Seoul fell."
China and North Korea were "as close as lips and teeth," said Mao Tse-tung.
The Korean War, which has never formally ended, has been largely forgotten in the West, despite the deaths of between two and three million people in the fighting.
In Asia, however, the memory of the war is still felt strongly and has sustained a continuing alliance and emotional bond between Beijing and Pyongyang.
While many Chinese historians privately subscribe to the view that North Korea was the aggressor in the war, driven by Kim Il-sung's desire to unite the Korean peninsula under a Communist banner, the matter remains highly sensitive.
"It is not convenient for me to comment on the matter," said Zhang Liangui, a leading professor of Korean studies at the Communist Central Party School in Beijing. "I was not aware of this timeline [in the Xinhua article]. As far as I am aware there has been no change to the official view on the war."
Meanwhile, the Global Times, a government-run newspaper, said it was "high time to renew and strengthen efforts by Chinese scholars to discover the truth about the Korean War."
In Seoul, South Korea held an official ceremony to remember the war and Lee Myung-bak, the president, paid tribute to the dead. "Sixty years ago, North Korea's communists opened fire on a weekend's dawn when all people were sleeping peacefully," he said.
Meanwhile, across the border, North Korea put across its own view of the conflict. Under the headline: "US, Provoker of Korean War," the country's state news agency accused Washington of starting the war with a surprise attack.
"All the historical facts show that it is the US imperialists who unleashed the war in Korea and that the United States can never escape from the responsibility," the Korean Central News Agency said.