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N. Korea registers Pungsan dogs as intangible cultural asset

North Korea 08:52 November 17, 2022

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has registered its indigenous Pungsan breed of dogs as an intangible cultural asset, its state media said Thursday, amid a controversy in South Korea over a pair of such dogs gifted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018.

North Korea's cultural ministry has listed the breed, as well as works of art and culture connected to the Pungsan, as "non-material cultural properties," according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

In 1956, North Korea designated the breed as a natural monument, with the North's leader elevating its status to that of a national dog in November 2014.

The registration came as two Pungsan dogs gifted by the North's leader to former South Korean President Moon Jae-in have become a source of a political row in the South. The dogs were given as a gift after the leaders of the two Koreas held a summit in Pyongyang in 2018.

Moon's side has recently returned the dogs -- one male named Songkang and a female named Gomi -- to the current Yoon Suk-yeol administration, citing legal grounds and a lack of support from the government.

The move has drawn criticism from conservatives who claimed Moon was abandoning the animals due to financial issues. Moon voiced his wish to officially adopt them if the government revises the related law.

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This photo, taken Nov. 10, 2022, shows a pair of dogs gifted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 that former President Moon Jae-in has recently returned to the government citing legal grounds and a lack of support. (Yonhap)

This photo, taken Nov. 10, 2022, shows a pair of dogs gifted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2018 that former President Moon Jae-in has recently returned to the government citing legal grounds and a lack of support. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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