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Old war diary likely to make UNESCO Memory of the World list

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- A 16th-century war diary kept by famous Korean naval hero Yi Sun-sin is highly likely to be added to UNESCO's Memory of the World Register, officials said Monday.

The war diary, called "Nanjung Ilgi," has recently received a preliminary recommendation for addition to the list by the International Advisory Committee (IAC) of the UNESCO Memory of the World, South Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration said.

The move further increased the journal's chances of getting a final recommendation from the committee during the 11th meeting slated for June 18-21 in Gwangju, a southwestern South Korean city, after it passed a preliminary screening by the committee's subpanel in December, officials said.

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

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.

Nanjung Ilgi, the country's national treasure No. 76, 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 by South Korea for this year's session is a group of 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.

But the documents have a lower chance than Yi's journal to be inscribed because UNESCO is required to supplement information on how the documents are unique from similar ones from other countries, officials said.

The required documents were submitted to UNESCO in February, they added.

Including the two items from South Korea, a total of 84 nominations from some 50 countries will be screened during the upcoming IAC meeting.

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.

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