(ATTN: UPDATES with details in paras 4-7)
SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- The government and the ruling Democratic Party agreed Friday to reduce the size of military facility protection zones to secure more space for local residents.
Under the agreement, about 2.74 million "pyeong," the equivalent of about 9 million square meters, of land will be released for civilian use near the inter-Korean border.
The decision follows a pledge by DP presidential nominee Lee Jae-myung to expand the available land for border area residents by adjusting the area of restricted zones.
An additional 3.69 million square meters of land, which currently falls within the scope of special zones where construction of new buildings is prohibited, will be placed under a less stringent category.
The move will allow such construction to take place following consultations with the military.
DP chief policymaker Park Wan-joo announced the measures after a meeting between party and defense ministry officials.
He also said the sides agreed to designate around 34 million square meters of land considered to have little impact on military operations, and to transfer authority on its development from the military to local governments, such as those of the northern cities of Paju and Goyang in Gyeonggi Province and Cheorwon and Yeoncheon in Gangwon Province.
Moon forges deeper ties in clean energy, defense during Middle East trip
Suspicions of shamanism return to haunt Yoon
Biden makes little headway with N. Korea, still willing to make progress: experts
(News Focus) Cold War-era anti-communist slogan springs back to life in presidential race
Disgraced late Chun: Coup leader known for bloody crackdown on democracy uprising