Source: The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 17 | Issue 1 | Number 4 | Jan 01, 2019
Will the Dormant Volcano Erupt Again? Mt. Paektu and Contemporary Sino-Korean Relations
Katy Kwon and Pil Ho Kim
Mt. Paektu/Changbai is a 9,000 foot volcano that straddles the border of North Korea and China. As the source of the Korean foundation myth, it has become a potent symbol of both North and South Korean nationalism. Historically, Sino-Korean border demarcation generally followed the Tumen and Yalu Rivers converging on Mt. Paektu. The Sino-North Korean border agreement in 1962, however, is still disputed by South Korea and contentions over territorial jurisdiction as well as cultural claims to the region have generated tensions between China and the two Koreas for decades. How significant is this national symbol in shaping foreign relations on the Korean peninsula? Will it become an issue on the path towards Korean reunification?