| North Korea has proposed that both Koreas jointly seek to register ssireum, Korean traditional wrestling, as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. If successful, the proposed joint efforts will mark the first case of the two Koreas getting on the World Heritage list together.
North Korea`s intangible cultural heritage protection administration proposed at an international forum on cultural heritages in Northeast Asia that the two Koreas work together for the listing of ssireum as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, according to the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP) under the Auspices of the UNESCO on Wednesday.
Ro Chol Su, an official at the North Korean agency, was quoted as saying that it would be "meaningful" if the two Koreas make joint efforts to register Korean cultural heritages such as ssireum, naengmyeon (cold noodles) and nongakmoo (farmers` dance). The agency, which was set up last year, is equivalent to South Korea`s Cultural Heritage Administration. Ro is a senior official at a level equivalent to or higher than the director-general level in the South.
Seoul welcomed the proposal, as it has long sought for joint research and exchanges with Pyongyang in the field of intangible cultural heritage, world heritage and records. Samuel Lee, director of the ICHCAP, told the Dong-A Ilbo in a telephone conversation, "I was surprised that a North Korean government agency attended an international forum on world heritage held by the South Korean government and make an unprecedented proposal."
So far, South Korea has registered 16 items on the UNESCO`s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. North Korea hasn`t registered any yet, with its application of arirang folk song waiting for a decision in November. The North has two historical sites registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites, while the South has 11 registered as World Heritage and Records.