Korean Royal books looted by France may come back in May

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Korea’s ancient royal books, looted by the French navy in the late 19th century and kept by the National Library of France until now, may return to Korea in May next year, officials at the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Their comments came one month after President Lee Myung-bak and his French counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy agreed on the return of 297 books of “Uigwe,” or royal protocols of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) on the sidelines of the G20 Seoul Summit on Nov. 12.

Sarkozy said France would loan the 297 Uigwe books on a five-year basis to the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, after which the loan will be automatically renewed every five years.

“Following the summit, follow-up negotiations are under way at the working level, whether the royal books should be digitized before repatriation,” said an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade....

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