South, North excavate in Kaesong

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South, North excavate in Kaesong

South and North Korea embarked on a six-month joint excavation project at the site of an ancient palace on Monday, a rare example of cooperation at a time of strained ties.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which is in charge of inter-Korean relations, said Sunday an inter-Korean association of historians would start joint excavation work of a palace called Manwoldae, which was built during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) near the border city of Kaesong, home to the Kaesong Joint Industrial Complex, the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean business cooperation.

Monday was the first day of the half-year project, and 11 historians and officials crossed the border from the South.

An additional group of around 80 historians will work over the next six months with their North Korean counterparts. Around 50 percent of the total area, which covers 33,000 square meters (355,209 square feet), will be excavated by the end of the project on Nov. 30.

The project will be financed by the South-North Cooperation Fund. The government’s agreement with the North on the joint archaeological survey is in line with its position on attempting to improve inter-Korean ties in areas that foster national identity across the border, despite lingering military tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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