March 07, 2005 22:23
Scholars from both North and South Korea have initiated joint research of Koguryo burial mounds in North Korea for the first time since the division of the country.
The Koguryo Research Foundation announced Monday that it had agreed with the North to launch joint North-South surveys of Koguryo burial mounds near Pyongyang within the year.
Koguryo Research Foundation president Kim Jung-bae said the agreement was reached during an academic conference on Koguryo history and culture jointly sponsored by his organization and the North Korean Academy of Social Sciences in Vladivostok in February. North Korea's Academy of Social Sciences is the Stalinist country's top academic body. Kim said the two organizations will decide on a timetable later.
It appears North-South cooperation regarding Koguryo history is a joint response to China's registration of Koguryo artifacts in Jian as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Beijing's attempts to distort Koguryo history, including its moves to incorporate the history of the kingdom into China's through its "Northeast Project."
Kim said the head of North Korea's History Society, Heo Jong-ho, at their last meeting slammed attempts to separate the history of Koguryo and Barhae from that of Korea as "grave historical distortions." Heo vowed the two Koreas would jointly respond to Chinese historical distortions, Kim added.
There are 63 Koguryo burial mounds in North Korea, including the largest at Anak, Hwanghae Province, the Tokheung-ni and Susan-ni sites in South Pyonyan Province, and the King Dongmyeong tomb in Pyongyang. The Koguryo Research Foundation will conduct joint research with North Korean scholars on the state of preservation of the tombs' wall murals, the tomb designs, and the way in which the bodies were preserved.
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