Early one morning in May 1992, President Kim Il Sung visited Kaesong, and looked round the historical remains and relics tirelessly. Then he made for the mausoleum of King Wang Kon, 8km northwest of the city.
After a meditative silence, he said that the mausoleum was too humble for the founder king of Koryo, the first unified state of Korea, that if we left it as it was, he would curse us, and that the historians should consult the architects on sprucing up the mausoleum.
The king’s descendants were moved to hear this. After some sleepless nights, they decided to present the President with their pedigree records and royal seal, heirlooms which had been passed down for generations.
These 600-year-old relics had been preserved by members of the royal family who had fled the overthrow by Ri Song Gye of the Koryo dynasty in 1392.
“Is it true Wang Kon’s family tree has been found?” asked Kim Il Sung. “A wonderful thing indeed, in these good times!”
Examining the genealogical records and royal seal, he continued: Wang Kon was the founder king of Koryo. Koryo was the first state to unify Korea. That is the significance of my proposal to name a reunified Korea the Democratic Federal Republic of Koryo.
At the sight of the king’s portrait, he laughed, saying that he was a very handsome man.
He took steps for the remains to be well preserved, and sent presents to the king’s descendants.