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Mr. Roh Pushes Ahead with Saemangeum Reclamation Project

Mr. Roh Pushes Ahead with Saemangeum Reclamation Project

Posted June. 05, 2003 21:46,   


President Roh Moo-hyun on Thursday reconfirmed the position to push ahead with the Saemangeum reclamation project, which had previously been a source of controversy. However, he said that he would review the original plan to use most of the reclaimed land as farmland.

At a luncheon meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on that day, with city mayors and district leaders around the nation attending, Mr. Roh said, "It was difficult to overturn a project planned by the previous government after two years of debates and surveys, so I said that I would not withdraw the plan as president-elect. But I will review the adequacy of using reclaimed land for farming."

He also said, "The biggest issue related to this is whether to use the land for farming, tourism or industrial parks or for other purposes that residents in North Jeolla Province want. So I suggested setting up a committee for planning the land usage in order to explore how to use the reclaimed land."

"When fresh reservoirs are developed, the upper reaches of the Mangyeong River will be put under a lot of regulations and it will take a lot of money from public coffers to maintain the fresh reservoirs clean in accordance with standards for fresh reservoirs. In one month or so, we should decide on this issue. If what I am talking is disclosed, a lot of people will be bused to the front of Cheong Wa Dae for protests at once. Residents in that area are insisting on starting reclamation work unconditionally, not paying attention to the subsequent regulations. We should first decide on whether to develop fresh reservoirs."

Meanwhile, Kwon O-kyu, presidential senior secretary for policy planning, said that 28 lawmakers would participate in the special committee for Saemangeum project, with Rep. Chung Se-kyun of the Millennium Democratic Party acting as co-chairman. Also, nine vice ministers, including those from the Agriculture Ministry, Environment Ministry, and Construction-Transportation Ministry, and 14 private experts on national land development, agriculture, the quality of water, and the environment will be included in the special committee.

Jeong-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com