Progress in Korea's Quest to Get Treasures Back from France

      October 13, 2010 12:17

      Korea is making progress in efforts to persuade France to return historic Korean texts looted during a botched invasion in the late 19th century.

      "After numerous negotiations with the French Foreign Ministry, we've been preparing a draft agreement that contains more progress than the previous one," Korean Ambassador to France Park Heung-shin told the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee auditing his embassy Tuesday. "France has said it's impossible under French law to return the Oegyujanggak royal library to Korea since it is part of France's national assets." Instead, Paris proposed a mutual permanent loan.

      "The latest negotiations focus on putting a certain ambiguity into the agreement so that it will be considered a loan from France's perspective and a return of national treasures from the Korean perspective," he added.

      Park said one of the Oegyujanggak texts was returned in 1993 during President François Mitterrand's visit to Seoul as an indefinite loan. "The leaders of Korea and France meet during the G20 Seoul Summit since Korea is the host of this year's event and France will host the one next year," he added.

      Park hinted they will probably agree a solution, saying. "If the summit doesn't resolve it, then probably nothing can."

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