Updated January. 15, 2014 04:28
The World Peace Park in the demilitarized zone that President Park Geun-hye is promoting aggressively will likely be created into a nature-preserving ecological park. The government plans to make it into a park that traverses the demilitarized zone so that global visitors freely access South and North Korea within the place.
The government`s scheme is a materialization of the DMZ world peace park that President Park presented as the key to building the foundation of unification of two Koreas. The government will make the park into the bridge between South-North exchange and cooperation, and a place for preparing reunification.
Multiple government officials said Tuesday, "The peace park will traverse the DMZ between the South and North," adding, "We have recently formed a basic direction of the plan. The park will be opened not only to South and North Koreans but also to foreigners to enable them freely pass between the two Koreas."
During her visit to the U.S. in May last year, President Park announced for the first time her plan on the DMZ peace park. Since then, the government has repeatedly discussed on the area range of the park, whether to limit to South Korean DMZ or also to include the North Korean DMZ. A government official said, "When the park is realized, visitors to the park can feel the pain of divided nation and the need for peace."
The government will minimize the presence of buildings and sculptures in the park for the sake of making an eco-park and preserving nature.
Though a proposal to attract U.N. organizations to the park was made during examination of the scheme last year, the government decided that the meaning of the park should not be on tourism or development. Another official said, "Creating a park only in the South DMZ will enable a stable attraction of U.N. organizations and operations. But an eco-park under an agreement between South and North will be much meaningful." The Unification Ministry received 30.2 billion won (28.52 million U.S. dollars) budget for the creation of the peace park, and will come up with concrete construction plans.
The government plan needs to overcome challenges of getting an agreement from North Korea. When Pyongyang agrees to resume the reunions of separated families to create conditions for talks, the government will offer the North to start negotiations on the DMZ peace park. The government had initially planned to carry out negotiations with the North when the family reunion took place in September last year, which the North turned down at the last minute.
At her New Year`s press conference last week, President Park said, "Unification will draw nearer by building a DMZ world peace park that will tear down barriers of mistrust and confrontation as well as linking Eurasia railroad to make the Korean Peninsula a channel for trust and peace."