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NK media outlets criticize Seoul’s plan to jointly seek UNESCO listing of DMZ

An illustration depicts the Cultural Heritage Administration’s vision of the DMZ as an International Peace Zone. (Yonhap)
An illustration depicts the Cultural Heritage Administration’s vision of the DMZ as an International Peace Zone. (Yonhap)


North Korea’s media outlets criticized the Cultural Heritage Administration’s plan to seek UNESCO listing of the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas jointly with North Korea, according to local news outlets on Friday.

The response from the North Korean news outlets came after the CHA on March 11 announced having the DMZ recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of its projects for 2020. The CHA said it intended to submit a tentative list to UNESCO in conjunction with North Korea by December. The CHA also added that the goal was to turn the place into a symbolic space for peace through cultural cooperation.

The DMZ plan was mentioned in President Moon Jae-in’s 2020 New Year’s Address.

“Jointly registering the DMZ on the list of UNESCO World Heritage is something we can start right away. I am looking forward to a positive response from North Korea,” Moon said in January.

The response from Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean propaganda website, was not the one Moon had hoped for.

“Registering DMZ as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and turning the place into a tourism destination and a place to earn money, is a thoughtless idea without any conscience as a Korean,” an article on Uriminzokkiri said.

It also said it was shameless of South Korea to suggest such a project when it has not kept its promises to North Korea.

“South Korean politicians say that they are trying to turn DMZ into a zone of peace, but their real intention attempts to legally make DMZ permanent and perpetuate the tragedy of the divided nation and inter-Korea conflict,” said another North Korean media outlet called Tongil Voice.

Created in 1953 after the Korean War ended in an armistice agreement, the DMZ is a 248-kilometer border that divides the Korean Peninsula roughly in half. The zone is approximately 4 kilometers wide and is estimated to be 1 1/2 times the size of Seoul.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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