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UPDATED: 14:04, March 01, 2006
S.Korea hands overs 18th-century war monument to DPRK
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South Korea returned an 18th-century war monument looted by Japan a century ago to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday.

The return came amid South Korea is celebrating the 87th anniversary of the Independence Movement Day. The day marks Korean people's independent uprising against Japan's colonial rule in 1919.

The handover ceremony was held earlier in the day in the DPRK's border city of Kaesong, with around 150 South Korean officials and their DPRK counterparts present, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

The officials included Yoo Hong-joon, head of South Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration, and others who were involved in the effort of returning the nation's cultural legacy to the DPRK.

The stone monument arrived in the DPRK by an overland route that crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the two sides and will be transported to Kilju, North Hamkyeong Province of DPRK, where it used be located, Yonhap said.

South Korea had kept the memorial, "Bukgwandaecheopbi," since October 2005, when the Japanese government handed it over to South Korea.

Erected in 1707, the 187-centimeter tall monument honors a Korean general who defeated Japanese invaders in the 16th century.

It was seized by Japanese troops in 1905 and had been kept at a Tokyo shrine that honors the country's war dead.

In the 15th Inter-Korean Ministerial Meeting held in Seoul in June 2005, the two sides decided to make joint effort to demand return of the monument from Japan.

Source: Xinhua

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