NATIONAL

Veterans’ Ministry projects to celebrate centennial of independence movement

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Jan 14, 2019 - 16:46
  • Updated : Jan 14, 2019 - 16:46

The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs said Monday that it would begin a set of commemoration projects to mark the 100th anniversary of the country’s Provisional Government established in 1919.

Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs said it planned to start 26 commemoration businesses in celebration of the historical March 1 Independence Movement and the centennial anniversary of the Provisional Government of Republic of Korea. The provisional government was was set up in 1919 by independence activists to fight Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1919 to 1945.

Veterans Minister Pi Woo-jin (Yonhap)

The projects, designed to “commemorate the noble spirit of the patriots for independence of Korea,” includes making efforts to designate a historical indendence movement as the UNESCO Memory of the World and promoting a joint recovery operation of the remains of the heroic independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun.

The Ministry said it will proclaim constructing a national memorial hall of the provisional government and to restore one of the provisional government buildings that is located in Chongqing, China to its original state. While there are several provisional government headquarters set up in other parts of China, the one in Chongqing, used from 1942 to the independence day in 1945, was the largest.

President Moon Jae-in visited the former government building in Chongqing in December 2017, becoming the first head of state to do so. The building is now a museum.

To mark the centennial of the historical independence movement on March 1, 1919, the ministry said it will also push to have the movement registered in the UNESCO Memory of the World.

The ministry will also push for a joint operation with North Korea to excavate the remains of Ahn, a heroic independence activist here. He assassinated Hirobumi Ito, a prominent Japanese statesmen, in 1909 at Harbin, China, as part of a movement to liberate Korea from Japanese colonial rule. Ahn was immediately captured and was executed in the following year.

The independence movement is also a monumental event for North Korea, sharing the same historical background with the South before the two seperated in 1945.

Reconstruction and restoring works of homes and commemoration halls of the independent activists, such as Choi Jae-hyung and Soh Jai-pill will also be embarked on from this year, the ministry said.

Choi, born in North Hamgyeong Province in 1858 and brought up in Ussuriysk, Russia, ran a military business in Russia and provided support to the independence movement. He died in street battle in 1920. Soh published the first newspaper in Korean language, “The Independent” while Japan supressed such works. He was the first Korean to gain American citizenship.

The ministry will begin and reinforce the studies into female independent activists and foreign and student fighters to shed new light on their feats.

The government plans to host the centennial commemoration event on April 11 and some 6,000 people, including the independence patriots, bereaved families and government figures are expected to participate.

For the celebratory event, the ministry will dispatch delegates to 13 countries, including China, Russia, Mexico and France and also provide support in hosting the events in some 40 countries as well.

“The (proposed) commemoration businesses are to remember the past 100 years that Korea has walked through, and we will work to make this year as the firm starting point for the country for its next 100 years to come,” the Patriots and Veterans Minister Pi Woo-jin said in the press release.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)