Seoul to Help Preserve Palace Despite Sanctions on N.Korea

      November 14, 2011 11:48

      The two Koreas will work together on restoring and preserving Manwoldae Palace, the official royal palace of the Koryo Dynasty (918–1392), which suffered flood damage this summer.

      The Ministry of Unification said on Sunday it has approved a 10-day visit to North Korea by a group of historians. Twelve historians and experts will visit the North from Monday until Nov. 23 to take part in a joint effort to examine the damaged historical site in Kaesong, the ancient capital of the Koryo Dynasty.

      "We will endorse contacts between the two Koreas on the Manwoldae Palace restoration project as well as on the compilation of a unified Korean dictionary as part of efforts to conserve our cultural heritage," Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said in a meeting with journalists on Oct. 21.

      On Oct. 28, historians from both Koreas held a working-level meeting in Kaesong. One official from the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage who took part in inspecting the palace site said, "The summer floods led part of the embankment to collapse [near the palace site] and there was some damage caused by a landslide. Due to the urgent need for safety measures, we reported the matter to the ministry."

      The visit by South Korean historians on Monday served as a follow-up measure to the October meeting.

      On the possibility of resuming the original project, an NRICH official said, "We will only enforce safety measures this time."

      The restoration project was suspended as part of wide-ranging sanctions against North Korea that Seoul imposed following the sinking of its Cheonan Navy corvette in March. But some believe the joint enforcement of safety measures at the palace site marks the first step towards getting the mothballed project back on track as some digging work is required.

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