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Impatient France, Relaxed Korea

Posted January. 28, 2002 09:29,   


Korea and France stand in reversed positions in regard to the on-the-spot investigation on the books of Wae-Kyujanggak or Outer Kyujanggak, which will be held in Paris, France from the 28th. Korea, whose books France plundered, is saying `don`t be in a hurry` while France is urging `let`s produce a visible results as soon as possible`.

For the investigation, 3 domestic experts including one Kyujanggak scholar researcher from Seoul National University will investigate the present condition and safety of 296 books in the chest of Wae-Kyujanggak, presently in the custody of the French National Library.

Officials of the Korean government say, "The investigation will not yield results at once, and it will take much time because it requires several investigations."

Soon after the 4th negotiation meetings for returning the Woe-Kyujanggak books in July, 2001, the Korean side was in a hurry insisting that the chest of copied books for non royal inspection that Korea owns should be exchanged with the chest of the only books for royal inspection that France have as soon as it finishes on the spot investigation in September, 2001.

On the contrary, France, which was insincere to postpone the 4th conference by 8 months at that time, is reportedly in a hurry for this on the spot investigation.

What reversed the positions of both countries were their respective domestic situations. After the 4th negotiation, Korea was burdened by continual protests that said, "Exchanging the books makes the plunder legal."

On the other hand, France is fretting over the selection of fighter planes in March which is near at hand, as it recommends Rafale of Dassault as a fighter plane for Korean F-X project. France returned one Woe-Kyujanggak book as a `sign of sincerity` when it recommended TGV as a high-speed train for Korea.

Jei-Gyoon Park phark@donga.com