A MYTHICAL king and the dream of Korean unification : 

IT'S the stuff of an Indiana Jones movie : super-natural kings, ancient tombs, and government-backed archaeologists striving to harness the power of a legend for a greater cause.

On a divided Korean peninsula, tales of King Dangun - the mythical founder of first Korean kingdom more than 4,350 years ago - play a quiet but a persistent role in keeping the dream of reunification alive.

This mythology made an appearance in September when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the top of Mount Paektu, the supposed birthplace of Dangun.

Moon also invoked the legend in an unprecedented speech in Pyongyang, calling for Korea to reunited.

''We had lived together for 5,000 years but apart for just 70 years,'' said Moon, whose parents came from what is now North Korea.

For many Koreans, the idea of unification has becoming increasingly unrealistic amid a widening gulf between the two Koreas more than 70 years after they were partitioned in the wake of world war II.

The legend of  Dangun, however, plays a lasting role in promoting unification because it portrays Koreans as a homogeneous group destined to live together, said Jeong Young-Hun, a professor at  Seoul's Academy of Korean Studies.

''Dangun is a basis for Koreans to feel the necessity for pursuing harmony and unification,'' he said.

''Dangun is a basis for seeing unification as something possible.'' There's little evidence for the   glorious king or the thousands of years of Korean unity Dangun is said to have founded. [Agencies].


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