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Published : 2013-03-27 10:39
Updated : 2013-03-27 10:40

A 16th-century war diary kept by famous Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin will be screened for addition to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register during a sub-panel meeting in June, officials said Wednesday.

A preliminary decision on whether to include "Nanjung Ilgi" on the list will be made at the 11th meeting of the International Advisory Committee (IAC) scheduled for June 18-21 in Gwangju, South Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration said.

The IAC is a committee of experts that pre-examines nominations for the Memory of the World list. The opinion reached at the biennial meeting has a decisive influence on UNESCO's final choice of nominations.

The country's national treasure No. 76, Nanjung Ilgi, is the personal diary written by Yi during the Japanese invasion of Korea, known as the Imjin War (1592-1598).

Officials say the diary has value not only for Yi's personal experience of the war but also for the objective data about wars fought during the period.

Another heritage item nominated from South Korea for this year's session are documents relating to the country's "Saemaul Movement," according to the government office.

Launched in 1970 by incumbent president Park Geun-hye's father, then President Park Chung-hee, the government-led movement, which translates as the "new community movement," is credited with helping to modernize the then rural South Korean economy.

Including the two, a total of 80 nominations are up for screening at the upcoming meeting.

The conservatives' move to put the Saemaul documents on the UNESCO list has triggered much debate at home. Opponents said the move, which began ahead of the Dec. 19, 2012, presidential poll, had political undertones as Park Geun-hye was considered an influential contender at the time.

The request for listing the Saemaul Movement was not made by the government but by a private group working to revive the movement in modern-day South Korea as a civilian campaign to better the country.

South Korea currently has nine heritage items on UNESCO's the Memory of the World Register, including "hunminjeongeum," the original manuscript of hangeul, the Korean alphabet.

The Memory of the World program, established in 1992, seeks to protect the world's valuable documents and records and widen public access to them through the Internet. (Yonhap News)

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