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A New U.S. Embassy Building is not Allowed at the Deoksu Palace Site

A New U.S. Embassy Building is not Allowed at the Deoksu Palace Site

Posted January. 21, 2005 22:40,   


A decision was made to preserve a total of 7,800 pyeong, which includes 1-8, Jung-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, where Gyeonggi Girls` High School was once located (some 4,500 pyeong) and adjacent areas around 1-39, Agwan Pacheon street (some 3,300 pyeong) as part of an effort to protect important cultural assets. The U.S. Embassy to Korea had planned to build a new embassy building and a residential apartment for its staff on the site.

The decision officially concluded the three-year controversy which began when the U.S. Embassy to Korea decided to build a 15-story new embassy building and an 8-story residential apartment for its staff on the former Gyeonggi Girls’ High School site in May 2002, and requested the National Cultural Properties Research Institute to check whether the site housed cultural assets underground.

The Cultural Properties Committee decided in a joint meeting among four divisions— Cultural Properties Policy Division, Historic Sites Division, Architectural Cultural Properties Division, Buried Cultural Properties Division- in the afternoon of January 21 in the meeting room of the former National Museum of Korea in Gyeongbok Palace.

Jung Yang-mo, head of Cultural Properties Committee, announced, “After researching cultural assets, it was concluded that the site of the area is a historic and cultural place with evidence of Korea’s history during the Daehan Empire era, including Agwan Pacheon street and important buildings of Gyeongwoon (Deoksu palace) such as Seonwonjeon, Heungbokjeon, Heungdeokjeon and Saseongdang, and that the area should be preserved and avoid damage.”

Jung added, “The participants of the meeting reached an agreement to designate the site as a historic relic through discussions with the U.S. right after the site is returned to Korea, and then recommend the government to restore the dismantled buildings there after a through investigation and research.”

In May of last year, Korea and the U.S. agreed that the U.S. will return some 7,800 pyeong of the former Gyeonggi Girls’ High School site which it owns, and in return, Korea will offer a 24,000-pyeong plot in Camp Coiner inside Yongsan Garrison for the construction of a new U.S. embassy building.

Chae-Hyun Kwon confetti@donga.com