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SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's tidal flats were recently deferred in a preliminary review of potential assets that could be listed as UNESCO World Heritage, cultural heritage authorities said Wednesday.
Seoul has been pushing to register "getbol," or "Korean tidal flats" on the UNESCO's world heritage list, with the final review set to take place during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee in July.
In a preliminary review conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the natural heritage, however, was recommended to be deferred in a four-tier system of inscribe, refer, defer and not to inscribe, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA).
While an "inscribe" recommendation raises the possibility of the heritage being listed on the UNESCO list, those that have received a "not to inscribe" recommendation cannot reapply for a review.
The CHA had applied for a preliminary review on four tidal flats across the country's coastal areas, such as Seocheon in South Chungcheong Province, and Gochang, Sinan, Boseong and Suncheon in South and North Jeolla Provinces.
CHA explained that the IUCN suggested deferral, citing that while there is a possibility that getbol serves as an important habitat for biodiversity, the range of the areas is not large enough to show a large-scale topographic and ecological process, with the exception of the tidal flats in Sinan.
CHA officials said they will strive to preserve the natural heritage while cooperating with relevant government bodies to push for the listing based on the IUCN's feedback.
Several Korean heritage have made it on UNESCO's list after failing to receive an "inscribe" recommendation in preliminary reviews, such as the historic villages of Hahoe and Yangdong; "seowon," Korean neo-Confucian academies; and "sansa," Buddhist mountain monasteries in Korea.
South Korea currently owns 14 UNESCO world heritage, including one natural heritage: Jeju volcanic island and lava tubes from the country's southern resort island.