South Korea to open site for national park near presidential office on trial basis

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SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea announced Thursday that it will temporarily open part of the site for a planned national park near the presidential office in central Seoul to the public.

The US military is in the process of returning the Yongsan garrison site in Seoul to the South Korean government after moving the headquarters of US Forces Korea to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul.

South Korea is working to turn the site into a large national park, named Yongsan Park.

Starting next week, the government will open part of the site, including the south side of the recently relocated presidential office and sports grounds north of the National Museum of Korea, for 13 days starting May 25, according to the ministry. of the Territory, of the Infrastructure. and Transport.

The opening “is intended to engage people in the process of transforming the Yongsan base, which has long been off limits, into an open space,” the ministry said in a statement. “We will listen to people and reflect on their opinions throughout this project.”

The new Yoon Suk-yeol government has moved the presidential office from Cheong Wa Dae to the Ministry of Defense compound in Yongsan district in a bid to get out of a ‘symbol of imperial power’ and be closer to the people .

Visitors must make reservations online in advance, and up to 500 people can visit the site per two-hour slot and 2,500 per day. Various events to celebrate the return of the site will be organized, according to the ministry.

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