|SLUG: 268404 China / Korea / Ann.||DATE:||NOTE NUMBER:|
TITLE=CHINA-KOREA ANNIVERSARY (L-ONLY)
BYLINE=LETA HONG FINCHER
INTRO: China is commemorating the 50th anniversary of its entrance into the Korean War, by welcoming recent international efforts to improve diplomatic relations with North Korea. As Beijing Correspondent Leta Hong Fincher reports, the official Chinese media are paying tribute to Chinese troops who fought on the side of North Korea against U-S and South Korean soldiers.
TEXT: China's state-run newspapers are celebrating the day that Chinese troops entered the Korean War in 1950, with patriotic editorials praising what they call heroes and heroines of the nation. The editorials also laud the thaw of relations between former enemies a reference to the recent flurry of diplomatic advances to and from North Korea.
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Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhu Bangzao told reporters that commemorative activities express the desire and determination of the
Chinese people to maintain regional and world peace.
Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian - a Korean War veteran is representing Beijing at ceremonies in Pyongyang. While President Jiang Zemin and other senior leaders gathered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People to remember the 140-thousand Chinese lives lost in support of North Korea during the 1950 to 1953 war.
China's surprise entry in the Korean War pushed back U-S and allied troops, marking newly-communist China's emergence as a military force that could hold its own against modern Western troops.
Since that time 50 years ago, China and North Korea have been staunch communist allies, while the United States is still frequently cast as China's enemy. Even today, Beijing calls the
Korean War the War to Resist U-S Aggression and Aid Korea. (signed)