Archive for the ‘UNESCO’ Category

Kim Jung Un Stresses Protecting National Heritage

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

The DPRK leader Kim Jong Un recently emphasized the work of national heritage protection through the announcement of Nojak. In the DPRK vernacular, Nojak means the immortal writing of the highest leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

In October 30, DPRK’s Chosun Central News Agency reported that on October 24, the First Chairman Kim Jong Un made a statement on “National Heritage Protection Work as a Patriotic Business that Brings Honor to the Heritage and History of Our Nation,” together with members of the Workers’ Party Central Committee, in celebration of the 20th anniversary (October 29) of field guidance at the tomb of Tangun in Pyongyang by Eternal Chairman Kim Jong Il.

During the discourse, First Chairman Kim Jong Un stressed that “it is our strong will to flourish as a powerful nation which has inherited a glorious culture with a long history of being a universally civilized country.”

He went on to say, “by well managing the preservation of the remains and relics of the old capital city of Pyongyang and Kaesong, further interest should be turned in preserving the remains that have meaning as a national treasure in other suburban areas.” He also pointed out that “we need to fight hard the tendency of Dadaism, which refuses the superiority of one’s country and not managing the preservation of relics, which leads to the phenomenon of damaging them.”

He also added, “It is important to preserve the original form and not destroy the ecological environment of the scenic spots” and also stressed that “it is important to set up a thorough countermeasure so that the scenic spot will not be destroyed or polluted because of wastewater and factory pollution, pests and underground development of resources, and forest fires.”

Kim Jung Un also said “parts of the city and districts have not turned their interest in managing the preservation of historical remains; therefore, precious historical relics have been stolen or destroyed.” He further pointed out that “there has been cases where the ecological environment had been destroyed and the scenic beauty had vanished at the scenic spot.”

“Cabinet, relevant ministries and central organizations should turn their interest to historical remains and museums where maintenance and construction should be focused at these scenic spots so that facilities, materials, and funds that are demanded can be supported with responsibility.” He also proposed a solution: “through tourism and observation of historical remains and scenic spots, a portion of money that had been earned should be turned into the fund for protecting the ethnic heritage so that it can be managed autonomously.”

He went on to stress that “at the Guidance Bureau for the Preservation of National Heritage, in order to designate the natural heritage and historical monuments of the people at the UNESCO World Heritage, exchange business with other countries and the UN has been underway, especially in strengthening academic exchanges related to national cultural heritage, and especially with the compatriots of the South and overseas.”

Furthermore, he stated that the “Complex of Koguryo Tombs and historical relics at Kaesong City had been designated as a World Heritage; however, there needs to be continuous work in finding more of our country’s outstanding material heritage, non-material heritage, and natural heritage to be registered at the UNESCO World Heritage.”

In the discourse, Kim Jung Un stated that “national heritage work is a patriotic business which can lift up the country and a way to hold on to the tradition and history of the country.” He added that the “principle of identity, principle of history and scientific history are the basic principles that need to be consistently followed in order to develop and protect the national cultural heritage.”

The recent talk that has constantly stressed national heritage protection work by the Kim Jung Un regime can be seen as a move to infuse pride in the people for the history and culture of the country and to strengthen the solidarity of the people.


UNESCO lists Kaesong sites to world heritage list

Monday, June 24th, 2013

You can learn about which specific Kaesong sites have been named at the UNESCO web page.

Back in 2004, several Koguryo tombs were named to the list.


UNESCO to help DPRK’s pest control efforts at ancient tombs

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

According to Yonhap:

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said Tuesday it will help North Korea eradicate pests at forests near ancient tombs.

The Complex of Koguryo tombs, located in the North’s cities of Pyongyang and Nampo, has some 30 individual tombs from the late period of the Koguryo Kingdom, which controlled the northern half of the Korean Peninsula and northeastern China for more than 700 years until 668 A.D.

Read more about the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the DPRK here.

Read the full story here:
UNESCO to help N. Korea’s pest control efforts at ancient tombs


New Koguryo tombs discovered in Pyongyang

Monday, August 16th, 2010

According to the Choson Ilbo:

Academics from North Korea and Japan have unearthed a large tumulus from the Koguryo period in Pyongyang, providing valuable material for studying the history of ancient East Asia, Japan’s Kyodo news agency said Saturday. About 4.5 km away from the downtown Pyongyang, the tomb was discovered during construction work in Tongsan-dong, the Lelang District of the Koguryo era and is presumed to have been created around the 5th century.

According to the news agency, the mural paintings in the tomb show a man in horn-shaped headgear on horseback, a procession of men holding flags on armored horses, and warriors with swords. The antechamber and main chamber at the back are connected with a narrow passage, while the bones of a man and two women have been found in the back chamber. The tomb has some unique features, including the antechamber’s arched ceilings with three layers of triangular props and the mound created by piling up alternate layers of lime, charcoal and red clay to cover the stone chambers beneath, the report said. The mound is 35 m in diameter and 8 m high.

Pyongyang plans to register the tomb with UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Japanese scholars said the tomb’s murals are comparable to those of Tokhung-ri Tomb in Nampo, South Pyongan Province, which is included in the Complex of Koguryo Tombs inscribed in the World Heritage List in 2004.

The team also found relics offering a glimpse of how sophisticated Koguryo culture was, such as gold and silver ornaments, tiger-shaped pottery, bronze coins and nails for coffins. The celadon candlestick is the first of its kind to be excavated in the North, the report added.

The team consists of researchers with the Archaeological Institute of the North’s Academy of Social Sciences and Japanese scholars sent by Kyoto news agency including Prof. Masahiro Saotome, an archaeologist at the University of Tokyo, and Shigeo Aoki, a Cyber University professor specializing in the preservation of historic remains. Saotome said the tomb “was unearthed in an area where experts believed there would be no Koguryo mural tombs.”

Ahn Hwi-joon, a Korean art historian and professor emeritus at Seoul National University, echoed him saying, “It is the first time that Koguryo tomb murals have been unearthed in the area once controlled by the Chinese Han Dynasty Commander of Lelang. They are especially valuable as they were executed in the late fourth to the fifth centuries, immediately after Koguryo incorporated Lelang.”

Read the full story here:
N.Korean-Japanese Team Finds Koguryo Tomb in Pyongyang
Choson Ilbo


Koryo Tours Newsletter (June 2009)

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Koryo Tours has been in the North Korea tour business for many years.  They have helped expand tourism in the DPRK and made three great documentaries in the country: The Game of Their Lives, A State of Mind, and Crossing the Line

They offer some interesting new information in their June newsletter:

1. Despite the recent nuclear test and missile launches it is still business as usual–and this is for tourist companies as well as for the various European Embassies in Pyongyang. Koryo has tourists going in almost every week and fully expect the Arirang Mass Games (info) to be going ahead from 10th August to the end of September and maybe into October, as previously confirmed. American tourists are welcomed during this time and tours are showing a high level of interest.

2. New tourism attractions:Koryo Tours has just made trips up and down the Taedong river in central Pyongyang available to tourists for the first time.  Several sizes and speeds of vessels are available for short jaunts in the city centre as well as longer cruises to the suburban scenic spot of Mangyongdae. They plan to add these trips to many of their tours.

3. Charity Projects: In addition to Koryo Tour’s long running relationships with the Rotarian Society and Love North Korean Children they have just launched an appeal to raise money for a couple of charitable projects in the DPRK, one to purchase the first ever shipment of Braille dictionaries for blind children, and one to buy playground equipment for orphanages. More details on these projects can be found on their website if you can help then please let them know.

4. Mt. Myohyang named UNESCO site: UNESCO recently awarded the Mt Myohyang area in the DPRK the status of Biosphere Reserve. The area is a sacred site as, according to legend, it was the home of King Tangun, forefather of the Korean people. The scenic mountainous area rises nearly 2,000 metres above sea level. Its spectacular rocks and cliffs provide a habitat for 30 endemic plant species; 16 plant species that are globally threatened and 12 animal species that are also endangered. A wide variety of medicinal herbs also grows in the site.  For tourists, it is well known for the International Friendship Exhibition which is a series of subterranean halls housing the gifts which were given to the 2 leaders by people from all over the world.

If you would like to receive the Koryo Tours newsletter, visit their home page and click on the newsletter link in the upper right corner of the page.


About 16 million immunized against measles in N. Korea

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Kyodo News

About 16 million children and adults have been immunized against measles in North Korea in one of the fastest responses to a major outbreak of the disease, it was revealed Friday.

The mass vaccination was organized by the U.N. Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and North Korea after the government asked for help in February.

According to the international organizations, the immunization campaign was done in two phases, with 6 million children aged 6 months to 15 years vaccinated last month and 10 million people aged 16 to 45 years immunized earlier this month.

The campaign was arranged following the appearance of several cases of measles in North Korea last November. By February this year two adults and two children had died and more than 3,600 had been infected.

Measles had not been reported in North Korea before this outbreak since 1992, according to a joint press release from the international organizations involved, and many health workers in the country were unfamiliar with the disease.

“This was a remarkable example of good cooperation between different organizations,” said Jaap Timmer, the International Federation’s head of delegation in North Korea.

“The Red Cross mobilized more than 15,000 of its volunteers to visit families and explain the importance and benefits of the vaccination campaign.”

Measles is spread by contact with fluid from an infected person’s nose or mouth and is highly contagious. Symptoms include fever and a rash.

Sending vaccines and syringes to North Korea cost about $6 million, the press release said.


S. Korean publisher donates textbook printing press to N. Korea

Friday, December 8th, 2006


A South Korean textbook publisher has donated a second-hand rotary press to North Korea to help the communist state publish school textbooks, Seoul-based UNESCO Korea said Friday.

“North Korea has requested that UNESCO assist with textbook printing presses and paper since 2000, and (South Korea’s) Daehan Printing and Publishing Co. expressed its intention to make the donation,” a UNESCO Korea official said.

The press was used in printing textbooks for South Korea’s elementary and secondary school students until 2000, the official said.

The donation is the second project UNESCO Korea has sought to help North Korean students. In 2002, UNESCO and Daehan Pulp Co. provided the North with 200 tons of paper for middle-school English textbooks there.


China Eyes Mt. Pektu IV

Friday, November 17th, 2006

China won’t unilaterally seek World Heritage status for Mt. Paekdu: Chinese Amb

China’s top envoy to South Korea said Friday that his country will consult with a concerned country before seeking UNESCO World Heritage status for Mount Paekdu on its border with North Korea.

The remarks by Ning Fukui came amid growing concern that China has taken steps to solidify its historical claim over the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, nearly half of which is in Chinese territory.

Joong Ang Daily
China tries to ease Paektu concern

China’s top envoy to South Korea has said his country will consult with a concerned country, apparently referring to North Korea, before seeking World Heritage status for Mount Paektu on its border with the North, embassy officials said Friday. The World Heritage list is maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The remarks by Ning Fukui came amid growing concern that China has taken steps to solidify its historical claim over the highest peak on the Korean Peninsula, nearly half of which is in Chinese territory.

“Even though China will put Changbaishan on the World Heritage list, it will do so in consultation with a concerned country,” the ambassador said in a speech during an academic forum at Seoul National University on Thursday, using the Chinese name for the mountain.

He did not directly mention North Korea during the speech, but has previously suggested several times that North Korea is the concerned country on the Mount Paektu issue.

In September, Beijing issued a directive to about a dozen hotels operating there, including four run by South Koreans and one by an ethnic Korean resident of Japan, to close their businesses and leave by the year’s end. The move was part of an initiative to make the Paektu area a World Heritage site nominated by Beijing, critics said.

In related news, northeastern Jilin Province, which administers the Chinese part of the mountain, unveiled an ambitious plan Friday that would make the mountain a 5A scenic spot, the highest of China’s tourism zone levels. China is bidding to host the 2018 Winter Olympics on its side of the mountain.


UNESCO naming world heritage sites in DPRK

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

UNESCO has listed a series of Koguryo burial sites on the world heritage list.

Here is a link to the list approved in 2004 (with coordinates for Google Earth):

Here is a list of accepted and “wait-listed” projects:

Here is a nice video of the sites on the UNESCO web page:

Here is a story in the BBC about North Korea’s additions to the World Heritage List.

Here is another great resource about the history of the move in the Korea Foundation Newsletter.

Apparently the job of overseeing these tombs is in the hands of the Management Bureau for Cultural Property Conservation (MBCPC) in the Korean Cultural Preservation Agency (KCPA)


N Korea makes World Heritage List

Thursday, July 1st, 2004


A complex of ancient tombs across North Korea and China has been recognised by the UN’s World Heritage List.

Two sites from the Koguryo dynasty – one in each country – are recognised for their special cultural value. It is North Korea’s first entry on the list.

The UN’s cultural body, Unesco, says it is trying to balance the bias towards Western sites on the list so far.

Forty-eight sites are being considered for the list by the World Heritage Committee at a meeting in China.

Political agenda

The annual meeting, where the sites are being discussed, is taking place Suzhou and will last until 7 July.

An official said the final choice should be limited to 30, but political considerations may mean it exceeds that.