KBS World Radio & Arirang News – 2008-09-28 22:14:11
Gov’t to Create Peace Park in Korean DMZ
Inter-Korea Broadcast Service
(September 26, 2008) — The government will create a worldwide ecological peace park in the demilitarized zone (DMZ). The Ministry of Environment and Gangwon Province announced the plan in a ceremony Friday in Cheolwon near the border with North Korea.
About 40-billion won will be invested over the next four years to create the park in the four-kilometer buffer zone between the two Koreas.
The government will carry out joint research with North Korea to examine the ecology in the DMZ. It will also request that UNESCO designate the area as a biosphere reserve by 2012.
As a project selected by the new administration, the government hopes for the now heavily fortified zone to become a worldwide tourist attraction.
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Eco Park in the Demilitarized Zone Planned
The Demilitarized Zone stretches more than 200 km in length and is around 4 km wide and has been left basically untouched for decades, curtained off from industrial development.
For the ecosystem this has done wonders, allowing hundreds of animal and plant species to flourish, including some rare ones.
The provincial government of Gyeonggi Province through agreement with the Korean military has decided to make parts of the ecosystem within the DMZ public.
Obviously, the area to be made into a park is on South Korean soil over 3,000 sq.km in total. The plan involves an unprecedented move to take down fences that restrict civilians from crossing into the DMZ area.
The park will be ready to welcome visitors by 2010 with plans of recreating remnants from six decades ago. One likely scenario is an Imjin River cruise aboard a traditional sailing ship. Plans also include restoration of the Freedom Bridge, which is the only bridge that links North and South Korea.
Additionally Gyeonggi Province plans to build a complex near the park where visitors can spend an hour or two shopping and sightseeing. Officials say the DMZ natural park tour will provide a unique insight into Korea’s historic past and the wonders of Korea at its natural best.
More Freedom to Use Land in Military Protection Zones’
KBS WORLD Radio
(January 9, 2008) — The Defense Ministry has discussed relaxing land-use regulations around military protection zones in its briefing with the presidential transition team.
The two sides also spoke Tuesday about revising the schedule for the transfer of wartime operational command from the US.
Currently, land-use regulations govern the belt of land extending ten kilometers south from the military demarcation line to the civilian control line. They also cover the belt of land extending 15 kilometers further south, an area known as the restricted protection zone.
The defense ministry said in the briefing that it is considering reducing the protection zone so that the boundaries are set 500 meters away from the area’s existing military facilities.
The transition team said that this would change the so-called “belt” concept to a “box” concept.
Residents in the area are expected to benefit if the proposal is agreed upon, as a loosening of regulations will allow them to more freely exercise their property rights.
‘N.K. to Create Free Zone in DMZ’
KBS WORLD Radio
(January 20, 2008) — North Korean Ambassador to Egypt Chang Myong-sun says his country is considering creating a free zone in the heavily fortified zone along the inter-Korean border.
The party organ of the opposition Arab Democratic Nasserist Party said Sunday that Chang announced the plan during a meeting with the party secretary-general.
Chang said factories will be built in the zone.
He also criticized the United States for boosting negative public opinion on the North despite Pyongyang’s faithful fulfillment of agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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