via Korea Herald, 31 August 2023: Experts and officials gathered in Seoul to discuss Korea’s cultural heritage assistance projects, reflecting on a 15-year journey that included restoring Laos’ Hong Nang Sida Ruins and Cambodia’s Preah Pithu, aiming to empower nations in safeguarding their heritage.
The journey of the country’s cultural heritage ODA, which started with a modest budget of 70 million won ($52,900) in 2009, has grown to reach 13.1 billion won for the year 2024. Presently, South Korea’s ODA projects extend to countries including Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt and Kyrgyzstan.
In Laos and Cambodia, the focus is conserving and restoring the cultural heritage of the once-dominant Khmer civilization. Collaborative efforts with local institutions drive projects involving the disassembly and reconstruction of Khmer architecture.
The expertise honed over two decades during the restoration of the Buddhist temple site of Mireuksaji in Iksan, North Jeolla Province, informs restoration efforts in Laos and Cambodia, affirmed by KCHF officials overseeing the projects.