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Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Elected a Member Nation of WHC

Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Elected a Member Nation of WHC

Posted October. 12, 2005 07:04,   


Korean National Commission for UNESCO announced Monday that Korea was elected a member nation of the World Heritage Committee (WHC), which decides the registration of the world’s cultural heritages.

The general assembly of the World Heritage Convention held at the headquarters of Paris UNESCO voted Korea as a member nation of the WHC. Korea will serve in the committee for four years. From 1997 to 2003, Korea previously served as a member nation of the committee.

WHC holds a regular meeting once a year. It protects the registered world heritages and makes a decision on the registration of new ones. Initially, the term of member nations was six years, but this was decreased to four years because many nations desire to serve in the committee as member nations. The limit of member nations is 21, and the constitution changes partially every two years. The competition for the member nations is stiff due to the increasing importance of cultural heritages.

Korea successfully registered Haeinsa, Tripitaka Koreana, Royal Ancestors’ Shrine, Sokkuram, Changdeok palace, Suwon Hwaseong, and Gyeongju historic areas as world cultural heritages. It is currently pushing to register “Jeju natural heritage,” drawing particular attention to the election result.

In 2003, North Korea attempted to register Goguryeo old tomb as a world cultural heritage, but it failed because of the negative report by a Chinese expert who took charge of actual inspection. At that time, China tried to include the history of Goguryeo and Balhae into China’s history in the name of the research of history and situation in the outlying area of northeast China. China has served as a member nation since 1999.

The Goguryeo old tomb of North Korea was registered the following year along with a Goguryeo relic applied by China as a world cultural heritage. South Korea fully supported North Korea in the capacity of an observer.

China became an observer as its term expired. North Korea has never been elected a member nation.

Jin Lee leej@donga.com