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Panmunjom tours resume after 13-month suspension due to African swine fever

All News 09:01 November 04, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- Tours to the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom will resume this week after more than a year of suspension due to the outbreak of the African swine fever, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

The tours to the Joint Security Area (JSA) and other sites inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas will begin on a trial basis early Wednesday, with around 80 tourists and reporters scheduled to visit there, according to the ministry.

The official reopening will be Friday.

A tourism support center will also be launched in the area. Unification Minister Lee In-young will attend its opening ceremony, his office said.

The tour program to Panmunjom has been put on hold since October last year amid worries about the spread of the African swine fever.

The ministry said that it decided to resume the tours as there have been no reports of ASF outbreaks near the truce village in recent months. It vowed to take necessary precautions at the tour sites, including disinfecting vehicles and conducting temperature checks on visitors.

Tourists will be allowed to visit Panmunjom for 12 days in November and 15 days in December. Future schedules will be determined in consideration of ASF-related situations, the ministry said.

Up to 40 people can visit the area twice a day, about half the scale of the tour program enforced before the suspension, according to the ministry.

The file photo taken Sept. 16, 2020, shows Unification Minister Lee In-young waving toward North Korean soldiers during a visit to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom in Paju, north of Seoul. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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