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S. Korea to open site for nat'l park near presidential office on trial basis

National 11:48 May 19, 2022

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Thursday it will temporarily open to the public part of the site for an envisioned national park near the presidential office in central Seoul.

The U.S. military is in the process of returning the site in the Yongsan Garrison in Seoul to the South Korean government after relocating the headquarters of U.S. 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 southern side of the recently relocated presidential office and sports fields north of the National Museum of Korea, for 13 days starting on May 25, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The opening "is meant to have people participate in the process of turning the Yongsan base, which has long been off-limits, into an open space," the ministry said in a release. "We will listen to the people and reflect on their opinions over the course of this project."

The new Yoon Suk-yeol government relocated the presidential office from Cheong Wa Dae to the defense ministry compound in the Yongsan district in an effort to move out of a "symbol of imperial power" and get closer to the people.

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

This file photo, taken March 22, 2022, shows a model featuring the U.S. Forces Korea's Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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