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City expected to delay plan to revamp Gwanghwamun Square

Retail/Tourism 11:11 September 19, 2019

SEOUL, Sept. 19 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul city government on Thursday released a statement hinting at delaying an ambitious plan to develop Gwanghwamun Square, a plaza in the city's center that has become a symbol of democracy following candlelight vigils demanding former President Park Geun-hye's exit.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government had been pushing to revamp the areas surrounding the square by 2021 to create a vehicle-free space that would involve closing down some roads around the square as well as relocating statues of Joseon dynasty figures King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun-sin.

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, who proposed the project, had said he aims to develop the area into a landmark plaza like those in other major cities, citing London's Trafalgar Square and Paris' Arc de Triomphe.

This photo, provided by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, shows Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)(Yonhap)

The plan, however, faced opposition amid concerns that it may disrupt the operation of the adjacent Seoul Government complex and cause traffic congestion and other inconveniences during construction.

In a statement released ahead of a press conference, the city said that it plans to take more time to create a consensus over the development project and "will not refrain from any sort of conversation."

Noting friction with the Ministry of Interior and Safety, the city said it has reached a "solid consensus" with the central government and has agreed upon a step-by-step process to reconstruct the plaza.

mlee@yna.co.kr
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