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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Korean Studies conference in Pyongyang cancelled

It was Minjungûi sori ("The Voice of People") of all places that I needed to visit in order to learn that the 2nd World Congress of Korean Studies is cancelled. (My first and second earlier post on the subject.) I went to the Voice of People site to see what news outlets that do their utmost not to displease DPRK have to say about the hundreds of DPRK refugees recently entered ROK. In one article about the possible consequences of the entry of the refugess it was mentioned that DPRK has cancelled the international congress of Korean studies to be held in early August in Pyongyang as a protest or countermeasure against the ROK not allowing a condolence visit on the 10th anniversary of the death of Kim Il-sung. Some more searching at KINDS: the same thing is mentioned in Munhwa Ilbo (July 27, 2004):
8·15공동행사는 지난 4년간 남북공동으로 치뤄져왔다. 한국정신문화원과 북한사회과학원 공동주최로 20여개국 한국학 연구자들이 모여 오는 8월3일에서 7일까지 평양에서 열릴 예정이던 ‘제2회 세계학술대회’도 북한 사회과학원이 지난 24일 조문갈등을 이유로 “남한은 물론 외국인들의 평양방문이 불허됐다.행사를 열 수 없게됐다”고 통보해와 무산됐다고 정신문화연구원측이 밝혔다
In early June the southern and northern scholars had a joint seminar in the Academy of Korean Studies; of the seven prepared papers by DPRK participants, only two were deemed to a have bearable amount of propaganda to be presented.

It doesn't really look as if scholarly exchange with the DPRK is helpful to anyone from the scholarly point of view, but surely this indirectly increases our understanding of DPRK...

It was a good decision not to even think about attending the conference.

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