S Korea welcomes retrieval of royal books

15:22, May 26, 2011      

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South Korea on Thursday welcomed the last in a recent series of shipments of its royal documents looted during the French invasion more than a century ago.

Seventy-three of the 297 ancient Oegyujanggak books from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), stolen in 1866 during the French invasion, are set to arrive in South Korea Friday for a complete retrieval on a renewable five-year lease.

The books will be on public display from mid-July through mid- September at the National Museum of Korea, the new home to ancient documents on royal ritual procedures. An electronic version of the books will also be available online.

"The Oegyujanggak books had long been an unresolved issue pending between South Korea and France for the past twenty years," the foreign ministry in Seoul said in a statement, noting the issue was settled following an agreement last November between South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy.

Following the leaders' agreement on the sidelines of the G-20 economic summit in Seoul, the two countries went on to sign an official agreement in February and later settled technical and administrative aspects of the deal, which officials here said would help bring Seoul and Paris closer.

"The foreign ministry would like to extend our gratitude to the National Library of France and the National Museum of Korea for cooperation," the ministry said.

Source: Xinhua

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