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Private firm pushes to publish N. Korean novels in S. Korea

All News 11:35 August 10, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean private enterprise said Friday it will push to publish North Korean novels in South Korea, as part of efforts to stimulate private sector inter-Korean exchanges.

The Seoul-based enterprise, named the South-North Employers Federation of Farming Cooperative for Unification, said that it has reached an agreement with North Korea's Taesongsan Copyright Agency via a Chinese agent to obtain the copyrights to 11 North Korean literary works.

The federation has also asked the Ministry of Unification for approval of its plan to publish and sell North Korean novels in South Korea, its officials said, adding that they held working-level discussions on the project with the Chinese agent in Seoul from July 16-20.

Most of the 11 novels, which include "Hwang Jin Yi (renowned gisaeng)," "Yi Je-ma (Joseon Dynasty medicine scholar)," "Hunminjeongeum (Korean alphabet)," "Female Journalist" and "Three Vassals of Goguryeo Dynasty," were recently published in North Korea.

A photo provided by the South-North Employers Federation of Farming Cooperative for Unification on Aug. 10, 2018, shows covers of four North Korean novels. (Yonhap)

Their copyrights will be transferred for five years from 2018 under the agreement, and 10 percent of the proceeds from sales in South Korea will be paid to the North, the officials explained.

"Except for 'Hwang Jin Yi,' all the North Korean novels were published recently and have never been brought into South Korea," a federation executive said.

"As soon as the publication plan is approved by the government, we'll submit concrete business plans to the unification ministry and take steps for domestic printing."

The federation agreed to pay the North US$8,000 per novel, but the actual payment will be made in the form of South Korean books or paper in order not to violate United Nations sanctions on the North, the executive said.

Meanwhile, an official at the unification ministry confirmed the Seoul federation's application for approval of its North Korean novel publication plan and said a review is still underway.


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