Revamp planned for Ahn Jung-geun memorial

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Revamp planned for Ahn Jung-geun memorial

A Chinese memorial for the Korean independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun, which first opened in January 2014, is going to be renovated, according to Harbin city government officials Tuesday.

Ahn assassinated Ito Hirobumi on Oct. 26, 1909, the first Japanese resident-general of Korea, at Harbin Station. Ahn was consequently executed on March 26, 1910, at the age of 30.

The memorial hall, built to honor Ahn, stands on 200 square meters (239 square yards) of land in Harbin Railway Station in Heilongjiang Province, northeastern China. The hall also marks the spot where Ito was assassinated and includes a small exhibition explaining his life.

The Harbin city authorities announced plans to reconstruct the Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall, adding a new exhibition room and doubling the size of the memorial hall.

The Harbin Railway Station, where Ito was killed, will also be undergoing renovation, and is expected to reopen by 2018.

Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and Wang Xiankui, a Chinese Communist Party secretary of Heilongjiang Province, agreed on Monday to cooperate closely on the renovation of Ahn’s memorial hall.

Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se also met with Wang, and officials from the two countries agreed on the potential for increased trade and exchange between Heilongjiang Province and South Korea.

According to China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday, unlike before, the new memorial will have an independent exhibition hall, with access to a square in front of the railway station.

Xinhua pointed out that the memorial is a popular attraction for South Korean visitors and has helped boost bilateral exchange between Harbin and Korea. President Park Geun-hye proposed the building of such a memorial while speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a 2013 summit in Beijing.

Over 200,000 people have visited the memorial hall over the past two years.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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