S. Korea, DPRK resume joint excavation of ancient palace
A group of South Korean historians will visit the border town of Kaesong of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the next few weeks to resume a joint excavation of an ancient royal palace site, South Korea's unification ministry said on Monday.
The unification ministry has approved the application of the visit submitted by South Korean Office of the Association of Inter- Korean Historians on July 18 and planned to provide 276 million won (268,000 U.S.dollars) to assist the project, Yonhap news agency quoted the ministry's spokesman Kim Eui-do as saying.
The joint excavation project between the two sides, with a goal of excavating the ruins of Manwoldae, the official royal palace of Goryeo Dynasty, was started in 2007 but suspended after the death of the DPRK's former leader Kim Jong-il in 2011.
A total of 13 South Korean historians will arrive in Kaesong on Tuesday for on-site survey, and the remaining 32 will get there until the middle of next month. Fifteen of them will stay in Kaesong for evacuation work with their DPRK counterparts.
The joint evacuation is seen as an opportunity to improve inter- Korean relations through cultural exchanges.
"The (South Korean) government has continuously allowed pure social and cultural exchanges with the DPRK in the non-political sector," Yohap quoted Kim as saying, adding that it approved the program in consideration of the significance of preserving Korea's cultural assets.
The vast 10th-century royal palace, listed as the UNESCO's World Heritage Site, is an important historical site for understanding Goryeo, one of medieval Korea's least-known dynasties.