|Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon delivers a speech at a ceremony to mark the 573rd anniversary of the promulgation of Hangeul, held at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Wednesday. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet developed under King Sejong of the 1392-1910 Joseon Kingdom. Yonhap|
By Jung Da-min
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon called for the resumption of a now-halted inter-Korean project to jointly compile a Korean dictionary, during his speech at a ceremony marking the 573rd anniversary of the pomulgation of Hangeul, Wednesday.
"Seventy years of division has even brought a linguistic gap between South and North Korea," Lee said. "The two Koreas agreed on the Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon Joint Compilation in 2005, but it has not seen much progress."
Hangeul is the Korean alphabet which was developed under King Sejong of the 1392-1910 Joseon Kingdom and promulgated in 1446. But the decades of division between the two Koreas has led to a linguistic gap between the two sides.
The Gyeoremal-Keunsajeon Joint Compilation, which aims to publish a unified dictionary of the Korean language, was launched as an effort to implement the June 15th Joint Declaration, signed in 2000 by then-President Kim Dae-jung and then-leader of North Korea Kim Jong-il, the incumbent's father and predecessor.
The joint dictionary project received spotlight again last year after the April 27 inter-Korean summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Moon and Kim held two more summits in May and September last year, but haven't held summit since.
The denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea have been stalemated since the breakup of their summit in Hanoi, with their latest working-level talks in Stockholm in early October again failing to generate substantial results.
At the ceremony, Lee also noted that the number of people learning Korean has been increasing, especially abroad.
|Participants in the 10th Korean Calligraphy Contest write Korean letters in Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, Wednesday, the 573rd anniversary of the promulgation of the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, first created in 1443 by King Sejong. In a congratulatory text message, President Moon-Jae-in lauded "King Sejong's love for his people" in his endeavor to create Hangeul. Yonhap|
"The number of people taking the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) last year was 329,224 from 76 countries, an increase from the 2,692 from four countries in 1997," Lee said, referring to the government's Korean language proficiency test. "The number of King Sejong Institutes teaching the Korean language to people abroad has also increased from 13 institutes in three countries in 2007 to 180 institutes in 60 countries this year."
Lee also said the government is planning to expand its Sejong Institute project, increasing the number of institutes to 220 by 2020 and raising the number of Korean-related courses at overseas universities.