Forum looks to DMZ as eco-tour site

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Forum looks to DMZ as eco-tour site

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security said it held the first Korean DMZ Policy Forum at the central government complex in central Seoul yesterday.

The forum, a think tank, is organized to discuss ways to develop the demilitarized zone as an iconic symbol of South Korea by promoting the zone worldwide as an ecological tourist site as well as a peace area for inter-Korean cooperation.

“Eighty-four experts in ecology, the environment and culture are members of the forum,” Oh Dong-ho, a senior official at the ministry’s regional development bureau, said.

The Korean government last year set out basic plans for the new development, which covers 15 areas around the DMZ and Mintongseon, the civilian control line, in Goseong. The grand total for the project, which begins next year and will last through 2030, is 19.7 trillion won ($17.2 billion).

Some of the government plans include designating DMZ areas as biosphere reserves under Unesco’s Man and the Biosphere Program and building a bike path that links Gwangwon County in Incheon, Gyeonggi, and the CCZ in Goseong, Gangwon, the ministry said.

The plan also includes opening an international campus of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace to nurture international experts on peace, ecology and human rights studies. UPeace is based in Costa Rica and nurtures talents who will work for the United Nations and its affiliated international organizations.

The members of the forum will advise and shape four aspects of the DMZ development plan: ecology-environment, culture-tourism, international-policy and region-society.

“By preserving the ecology surrounding the DMZ and establishing the zone as the cornerstone for peace and exchanges of inter-Korean relations, the development will become another growth engine for the country,” Oh said.

By Han Eun-hwa []
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