Though they went through many years of conflict, Northern and Southern Korea made a joint bid to recognise their national sport «Ssireum» as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. Their appeal was accepted by the committee of the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage this Monday 26th November at the Swami Vivekananda International Conventional Centre (SVICC), at Pailles, in Mauritius.

Audrey Azoulay, the Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) believes that this joint application is highly symbolical. She laid emphasis on the power of cultural heritage for dialogue and peace. Lee Byong Hyun, the representative of the Republic of Korea explained that the Korean people, as one nation, cannot live separately and he emphasized on the need to build a relationship of peace and prosperity.

“This is a symbolic message to the international community that we want to consolidate peace,” stated Jang Myong Ho, the representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Since the 4th century, “Ssireum” has been the national sport of Korea. This martial art has evolved from a survival tactic during ancient times to a form of entertainment today.