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Semangeum Landfill Project Continues

Posted February. 11, 2003 22:16,   


The Semangeum Reclamation Program is also to be continued by the incoming administration. The landfill, once completed, will not turn into a farming field. Supposed to settle in on the 400 million square meters are theme parks and industrial complexes, including an information and technology complex.

In addition, more follow-up measures will be come up with for areas such as Incheon, Busan and Kwongyang, which are to be newly designated as free economic zones in July.

In a speech given in a town hall meeting held yesterday at Chonbuk National University, President-elect Roh Moo-hyun commented on the program and said, "The landfill was originally intended as a farming field. Now, we have more than enough stock of rice. Farming fields much large than the landfill are idling around. But the government still compensates the field-owners. It`s natural to revise the original plan."

He directed Rep. Chung Seh-gyoon, the Millennium Democratic Party member who accompanied Roh to the meeting, to "come up with a plan to better use the landfill. The party should team up with the North Chulla Province government and look into the size and possible uses of the landfill." The program was launched in 1991 to prepare for the possible shortage of rice. By 2006, embankment will be completed, thus separating the landfill from the sea. A senior province government official confirmed, "When the project is completed, we will have two lakes and a land covering 4 million square meters. Then, the government may lease the landfill to theme park operators and foreign investors. Then, an IT complex may be built up on there."

In the meanwhile, regarding follow-up measures for economic zones, Roh said, "Foreign investors boggle at all kinds of red tapes enforced in this country. On top of that, they almost can`t speak English here. Under these circumstances, do you believe they will be lured into Songdo just by allowing them to establish their own hospitals and schools? We have come to a critical point. We should think twice about the concept of the economic zone. It is doubtful they would really make any investment at all." So far, a tug of war has been waged between Ministry of Finance and Economy and the Presidential Transition Committee. The former emphasizes on inducement of foreign investors and corporations into the zone. On the other hand, the latter wishes to develop the zone as an industrial center for domestic companies. Now, many are holding their breath, waiting to see which side would win the war in the process of preparing the follow-up measures.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com