As reported widely in Korea's domestic media, including The Chosun Ilbo, U.S. President Donald Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal claimed that "Korea actually used to be a part of China." His claim was based, he said, on conversations he had with visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping.
As readers of this blog will know, I've had a longstanding interest in how mainstream media cover, or do not cover, Korea and what this means for government policymaking. (see these posts, for example) However, this comment by President Trump is still astonishing. The truth is that the northeastern area of China used to be part of Korea. Also, it is worth remembering that Korea's history as a unified nation state, with its own distinctive culture and language, goes back thousands of years. Korea is not and never was a part of China, although it shares many characteristics. Likewise, it was only a part of Japan during the first half of the 20th century because of forceful occupation. President Trump's astonishing claim will only further cement his reputation as the source of "Fake News."