Korea is elected a third time to Unesco board

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Korea is elected a third time to Unesco board

Korea has been re-elected as a member state of the Unesco World Heritage Committee, which decides whether to inscribe cultural and natural heritage properties from various countries onto Unesco heritage lists.

The Cultural Heritage Administration confirmed the news late Tuesday night. The decision was made during the 19th session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention of the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, which opened at the Unesco headquarters in Paris on Tuesday for its three-day run.

“We believe Korea’s active contributions so far to the development of world heritage preservation has been acknowledged,” Seoul’s cultural heritage authority said in a statement. “We will be able to play a leading role and express our voices in deciding whether or not to add cultural and natural heritage items from various countries onto Unesco heritage lists.”

This is the third time Korea has been elected as one of the 21 state members of the World Heritage Committee. The country was also a member in 1997 and 2005.

The news comes amid a controversial move by Japan to add the 28 industrial facilities in the Kyushu region in southwestern Japan onto the Unesco World Heritage site. Almost 5,000 Koreans were forcibly recruited to work there during Japan’s colonial occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945.

In another questionable move, China is also seeking to add relics of Korea’s Goguryeo Kingdom as a Unesco heritage item, which many Koreans view as part of China’s so-called Northeast Project. The project assumes all events that once occurred in present-day China are now a part of national history and belong to the government in Beijing.

Seoul’s new four-year term is set to begin Dec. 1. Other countries elected to become state members of the committee include the Philippines, Vietnam, Finland, Poland and Peru.

BY KIM HYUNG-EUN [hkim@joongang.co.kr]
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