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N. Korea committed to Manwoldae project despite Kim's death

All Headlines 17:01 December 21, 2011

SEOUL, Dec. 21 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has expressed its wish to continue a project with South Korea to unearth an ancient royal palace site in the North, Seoul's top official in charge of relations with Pyongyang said Wednesday.

Last month, the two Koreas took safety measures to better preserve the ruins of Manwoldae, a palace in the North Korean border city of Kaesong. The measures were taken prior to resumption of the excavation of palace ruins as early as next spring.

South Korea brought home its 13 experts and workers from the site on Tuesday, three days earlier than originally scheduled, as a precaution following the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

North Korea told South Korea, however, that it wants to keep the project intact, South Korea's Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik said.

He said South Korean experts and workers can resume the work as soon as things normalize in the North.

North Korea is scheduled to hold a funeral ceremony for its late leader next Wednesday.

The two rival Koreas are expected to resume the excavation of palace ruins as early as next spring, according to historians involved in the project.

The two Koreas launched the excavation project in Kaesong in 2007, but South Korea halted it last year as part of its sanctions against Pyongyang for the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the North.

Kaesong served as the capital for most of the Goryeo Dynasty that ruled the Korean Peninsula from 918 to 1392. Now it is home to an industrial complex run by both countries.



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