Left Menu
Development News Edition

UNESCO chief welcomes new step towards inter-Korean reconciliation

UNESCO chief welcomes new step towards inter-Korean reconciliation
(Image Credit: Reuters)

North and South Korea marked a new step in their reconciliation efforts Monday as UNESCO accepted a joint bid for Korean wrestling to be recognised as one of the world's most treasured cultural practices.

The two Koreas had originally filed separate applications for their traditional form of wrestling to be recognised on the UN agency's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

"The fact that both Koreas accepted to join their respective applications is unprecedented," UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

"The joint inscription marks a highly symbolic step on the road to inter-Korean reconciliation," she added.

The announcement is the latest in a string of symbolic gestures between Seoul and its nuclear-armed neighbour in recent months.

Last week the two announced that they had connected a road across their shared border for the first time in 14 years, while earlier this month the South gifted the North hundreds of tons of tangerines in exchange for mushrooms.

Annual joint military exercises between South Korea and its ally the United States have been scaled down for spring 2019 to avoid undoing diplomatic advances to bring peace to the Korean peninsula.

The South's dovish president Moon Jae-in has long favoured engagement with the North, which is subject to UN sanctions over its nuclear activities.

Moon has dangled large investment and joint cross-border projects as incentives for steps towards denuclearisation, although the US favours a tougher approach until Pyongyang fully dismantles its weapons programmes.

The bid for recognition on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list -- which is separate from its list of World Heritage Sites -- was approved at a meeting in Mauritius.

Successful applications are largely symbolic, but can serve to raise the profile of winning countries and their cultural practices.

Known as Ssirum for North Korea and Sssireum for the South -- each uses a different system to render the language into English -- wrestling has been practised at village festivals for centuries.

The sport has some similarities to Japanese sumo but begins with two wrestlers facing each other on their knees in a pit, holding onto a cloth sash tied around the waist and using their strength and technique to knock their opponent to the ground.

In the South, wrestlers are topless and only wear tight shorts, while in the North they don sleeveless jackets.

Southern matches are held on sand while the North uses a round mattress.

There has only been one inter-Korean wrestling competition, on the South's Jeju island, in 2003.

Until now, North and South Korea have always submitted separate bids for recognition on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

South Korea added its tradition of making kimchi -- a fermented cabbage dish widely enjoyed across the peninsula -- in 2013, prompting the North to seek the same status for its own version, granted in 2015.

The Korean folk song "Arirang" has a similar story -- the South's was recognised in 2012, followed by the North's two years later.

For wrestling, the South applied in 2016, a year after the North.

But at a meeting with Moon in Paris last month, Azoulay suggested the requests be combined, and the idea was also taken up with North Korean officials.

The two Koreas are still technically at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, sealing the division of the peninsula with an impenetrable border.

This border, a four-kilometre-wide (2.4-mile) by 248 kilometre-long area known as the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), has become something of a nature reserve due to the lack of human activity.

UNESCO has suggested it could be designated as a special natural biosphere under a similar joint initiative.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



Future of Food: Technology fostering the road to global food security

Technological innovation can help address most of the pressing issues facing the world today including food security by enhancing productivity, improving financial services, managing resources, addressing environmental concerns, etc....

Conspiracy theories on COVID 19: Legislators, Scientists, and Journalists all joined the Caravan

Conspiracy theories are not new for virus epidemics. There have been conspiracy theories on HIV-AIDS, Polio Vaccines, Ebola Virus, and several other diseases as well. However, what makes the 2019 Novel Coronavirus different from others is ...

Now it’s a war, Uganda deploys army to combat locust swarms

Its for the first time after 1986, the locust swarms have attacked Uganda twice in a season. With the increasing number of countries of Africa under attack by locust swarms, the problem seems to have taken a regional paradigm. Its very diff...

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...


Latest News

European bond yields fall as coronavirus cases rise outside China

European government bond yields fell on Thursday, with German benchmark debt yields near their lowest in more than four months, as the spread of the coronavirus undermined risk sentiment.China still accounts for about 96 of coronavirus case...

Investment in mining: Foreign companies raise concern over

At a time when the Central government is looking for big-ticket investment in the miningsector and improving its productivity, the segment may face hurdles to attract foreign investors due to policy andregulatory issues, overseas mining com...

China to send 'duck army' to help Pakistan fight locusts

China is planning to dispatch a 100,000-strong army of ducks to help Pakistan combat a massive locust infestation, a local newspaper reported Thursday. The legion of lotus-eating waterfowl will be sent from the eastern province of Zhejiang ...

Warner reappointed captain of Sunrisers Hyderbad

Explosive Australian batsman David Warner was on Thursday reinstated as captain of the of IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad for the upcoming season starting March 29. I am thrilled to be given the captaincy for this coming IPL 2020. Im extr...

Give Feedback