S. Korea, UNESCO to cooperate toward listing DMZ as world heritage

Both Koreas have agreed to withdraw guard posts that are closest to each other at the heavily fortified Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). PHOTO: AFP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PARIS, Nov 21, 2019, The Korea Herald. Culture Minister Park Yang-woo and UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay agreed Tuesday to make a concerted effort to have the demilitarized zone between South Korea and North Korea added to the UN body’s World Heritage list, The Korea Herald reported.

Park met Azoulay on the sidelines of the UNESCO Forum of Ministers of Culture in Paris and asked for the UN body’s cooperation, saying the joint inscription of the DMZ on the list by both Koreas would be “in keeping with the spirit of UNESCO, which is for peace,” as Korea remains the only divided country in the world.

“I agree with President Moon’s remarks that the DMZ could represent peace, not division,” Azoulay said, expressing hope that the concerned parties would soon begin talks on the details.

At the UN General Assembly in September, President Moon Jae-in introduced his plan to push for the joint inscription of the DMZ, which acts as a postwar buffer zone between the Koreas. He added that he hoped the inscription would effectively make the DMZ a “global peace zone.”

During the meeting with the UNESCO head, Park also requested UNESCO’s cooperation with South Korea’s ongoing push to inscribe its tidal flats and tumuli from the ancient Gaya Kingdom on the World Heritage list. Both are currently on a tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites, and a decision will be made on the tidal flats at the 44th meeting of the UN World Heritage Committee in Fuzhou, China, next July.

Park and Azoulay also discussed increasing cooperation between Seoul and UNESCO.

At the UNESCO Forum of Ministers of Culture, bringing together officials from 140 countries to discuss the impact of cultural policies on sustainable development, Park spoke on how Hallyu content — referring to the wave of Korean culture reaching the international community — has contributed to the growth of related industries in South Korea.

Meeting with other culture ministers attending the forum, Park talked about South Korea’s content industry and about expanding cultural exchange with the said countries, according to the Culture Ministry.

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