November 27, 2018 11:17
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee has listed traditional wrestling as an intangible cultural asset in both North and South Korea. This is the first time that the two Koreas have listed an intangible cultural asset together.
The Foreign Ministry said Monday that the committee made the decision at a meeting in Mauritius under the official name "Traditional Korean Wrestling (Ssirum/Ssireum)." All 24 member nations voted in favor.
The committee said Korean traditional wrestling "had deep significance for all Koreans. Fundamentally linked to land and agriculture, it is both a national sport and a very popular cultural practice."
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said, "The fact that both Koreas accepted to join their respective applications is unprecedented. The joint inscription marks a highly symbolic step on the road to inter-Korean reconciliation."
Seoul applied to have ssireum listed in March 2016. North Korea had already applied in March 2015 and submitted supplementary materials last year.
The government here proposed the joint listing during the inter-Korean summit in April this year, and President Moon Jae-in met with Azoulay in France last month to discuss the plan. Azoulay sent an official to Pyongyang earlier this month and the two Koreas submitted their final joint request on Nov. 19.
Moon tweeted that the feat was the result of "North-South Korean cooperation" and added that efforts to publicize the uniqueness of Korean culture would become "much easier" if the two sides cooperate.
South Korea now has 20 intangible cultural assets on the UNESCO list and North Korea three, with each having the folk song "Arirang" and the staple dish kimchi listed separately.
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