Posted July. 08, 2005 05:19,
Yu Sang-yeol, the chairman of the Christian Council of Korea, who showed his plan to buy the old Joseon legation in the United States (reported on page A1 in Dong-A Ilbo on May 31) announced that he would try to purchase it in cooperation with the Federation of Korean Associations, USA. Joseon is the name of Korea`s late dynasty.
Yu, who visited Washington recently, said on July 6 that he met Choi Byung-geun, chairman of the Federation of Korean Associations USA who has been trying to purchase the building, and both agreed to cooperate in buying the building, according to Choi.
The old legation building is located in the Logan Circle district near the White House in Washington, and was bought for $25,000 in November 1891 at the instruction of Emperor Gojong. It was used as the Korean legation in the United States.
However, Japan extorted ownership of the building for only five dollars in June 1910 and on August 31 in the same year, two days after the Korea-Japan annexation treaty was signed, resold it to an American.
Currently, Timothy Jenkins, an American lawyer, lives in the old legation, a Victorian three-floor building. Since 1995, the Federation of Korean Associations USA has secured the funding to buy the building and use it as the associations hall, but failed to do so because the building owner has refused to sell it.
Choi said the market price of the building was $400,000-$500,000 until four or five years ago, and that it has jumped to $800,000 now. As the number of Koreans seeking to buy the building has increased and as Jenkins became familiar with the historical background of the building, he refused to sell it in the past. But recently, Jenkins said he would sell it for $1.5 million.
Yu has a plan to contribute the building to Korea and use it as a Korea-U.S.A. interchange museum, but the Federation of Korean Associations, USA plans to use it as their hall. Accordingly, mediation for the future usage of the building seems inevitable if both parties purchase the building jointly.