Go to contents

UNESCO Says Goguryeo is Part of Korean History

Posted October. 27, 2004 23:13,   


Mounir Bouchenaki, assistant director-general for Culture of the United Nations Education and Scientific Cooperation (UNESCO), and Michael Petzet, president of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), released a recommendation on October 27 saying that the tombs of the Goguryeo Kingdom are part of Korea’s heritage. An official of the Cultural Heritage Administration said that since China’s claim of the history of the Goguryeo kingdom, it is the first time that members of UNESCO and ICOMOS have recognized Goguryeo as part of Korea’s heritage in official documents.

In a symposium titled “Preservation and Management of Goguryeo Tombs” hosted by UNESCO and the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration at the Tower Hotel in Seoul, attending members, including Bouchenaki, issued a recommendation asking both Koreas to pursue cooperation in protecting Goguryeo tombs in the North. The recommendation stipulates that the organization acknowledges the outstanding universal value of the tombs of Goguryeo that express the rich past of the Korean people.

A group of twenty experts and people affiliated with UNESCO and ICOMOS, including Li Hongsong, senior engineer of the China National Institute of Cultural Property, Li Zuixiong, vice director of the Dunhuang Academy in China, Katsuhiko Masuda, professor at Showa Women`s University in Japan, and Jeon Ho-tae, professor at the University of Ulsan in Korea, participated in drafting the recommendation.

In the 28th general assembly meeting of the World Heritage Council (WHC) last June, Giora Solar, treasurer general of ICOMOS, announced that ancient Korea consisted of the three tribes of Goguryeo, Shilla, and Baekje, but the announcement was not adopted as an official document.

The recommendation called for North Korea to reinforce the function of concerned agencies in charge of the protection and preservation of cultural vestiges and monuments, and to put in more effort to protect and manage Goguryeo heritage. It also requested South Korea to continuously monitor the World Heritage sites, and stressed cooperation with the North.

Chae-Hyun Kwon confetti@donga.com