South Korea to spend $16b on projects in border areas by 2030

SEOUL • South Korea's government has said that it will spend 13.2 trillion won (S$16 billion) in border areas with North Korea for the next decade.

The money - comprising 5.4 trillion won from the central government, 2.2 trillion won from local governments and 5.6 trillion won from the private sector - will be spent on 225 projects in inter-Korean border areas by 2030.

The projects are aimed at establishing a foundation for inter-Korean exchange and cooperation, laying the groundwork for a balanced regional development, stimulating ecological peace tourism in the border areas as well as expanding social infrastructure, according to South Korea's Ministry of the Interior and Safety yesterday.

The development of the border areas had been limited for military security reasons.

For the past eight years through last year, a total of 2.8 trillion won had been spent on developing tourism projects, building industrial complexes and expanding transportation infrastructure.

The expanded investment for the next decade reflected changed situations at home and abroad, including improved inter-Korean relations and the need for balanced regional development, the ministry said.

About 5.1 trillion won was allocated to 21 projects to establish a foundation for inter-Korean exchange and cooperation, including the construction of a two-lane road between Yeongjong Island and Shin Island along the country's western coast.

 

Both countries agreed to modernise and eventually connect railways and roads along the eastern and western Korean peninsula.

The two sides held a groundbreaking ceremony in December, but the construction has yet to be launched because of international sanctions on Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump have agreed to hold their second summit late this month in Vietnam. The first Kim-Trump summit was held in Singapore in June last year.

As part of the restoration of the South Korean section of the Gyeongwon Line - a train route between Seoul and the North's eastern coastal city of Wonsan - an inter-Korean cultural exchange centre will be built in Cheorwon, a border town of South Korea through which the Gyeongwon Line passes.

To develop the border areas in a balanced way, 3.4 trillion won will be spent on 54 projects, including the creation of industrial parks.

Some 3 trillion won was earmarked to stimulate ecological peace tourism in the border regions, including the creation of a walking tour route near the Demilitarised Zone that has left the Korean peninsula divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice.

The remaining 1.7 trillion won was allotted to 42 projects to expand cultural, sports and welfare centres, and construct liquefied petroleum gas supply networks.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2019, with the headline 'South Korea to spend $16b on projects in border areas by 2030'. Print Edition | Subscribe