Gyeonggi presents plan to transform DMZ into peace and ecological belt
SEOUL, July 18 (Korea Bizwire) – Gyeonggi Province, surrounding Seoul, has established a new five-year plan for the preservation and peaceful use of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), the heavily fortified Inter-Korean border area, officials said on Sunday.
The plan calls on the provincial government to invest 170 billion won ($ 149 million) from 2021 to 2025 in various projects to lay the groundwork for a long-term national vision to transform the 4-kilometer-wide area that intersects the peninsula in one peace. , ecological and tourist belt.
The DMZ has served as a buffer between the two Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The two countries remain technically at war because the conflict ended with an armistice, and not with a peace treaty.
The plan consists of 34 projects under five strategies.
The first nine projects aim to preserve the rich flora and fauna of no man’s land and promote its ecological values, which will cost 78.5 billion over five years.
The province will work for the designation of the DMZ as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and its inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It will also organize education, tourism and art programs related to the natural environment of the DMZ.
Eight other tasks aim to build infrastructure for its peaceful use, including cultural and tourist villages, walking trails, bicycle paths and tourist facilities near the DMZ, with a budget of 52.9 billion won.
The local government will also lobby for four projects to support inter-Korean peace efforts, including preparations for the construction of a peace park in the DMZ and the construction of a memorial for Korean victims of the forced mobilization. of Japan during the colonial era (1910-45).
The projects will cost 300 million won.
Three other projects will be to encourage international cooperation to remove landmines from the DMZ and to build parks and tourist facilities in the areas between the DMZ and the civilian line of control. In total, 10 billion won will be spent on the projects.
Gyeonggi has also earmarked 28.2 billion won for six projects to raise awareness of the international community about the DMZ, organize a Korean Peace Culture and Arts Festival, and organize events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1953 armistice. .