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Government Refuses “Saemangeum Recommendations”

Posted January. 24, 2005 22:43,   


Government agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, reportedly reached a consensus to file a formal objection to the court’s arbitration recommendations on the Saemangeum reclamation project, instead of accepting the recommendations.

As a result, it is expected that the reclamation project will be involved in a tiring legal battle, inevitably prolonging the standoff of the project.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on January 24, government agencies, including Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the Ministry of Environment, had meetings on the reclamation project with officials of North Jeolla Province on January 20 and 21 in which they decided not to follow the arbitration recommendations of the court.

The decision equals a refusal of the Seoul Administrative Court’s recommendations on January 17 that the dike construction be delayed until a special committee of government officials and civilian experts is formed to specify the project`s purpose.

The controversial Saemangeum project is aimed at transforming tidal flats into for farmland by constructing a seawall off the coast from Gunsan, North Jeolla Province to Buan County. Currently, the construction of sea dike is completed except for a 2.7km section.

An official at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said, “An acceptance of the court’s arbitration recommendations in that meeting would have meant that it would take two or three years to form a committee and to draw up a plan for the use of reclaimed land alone, which means the bottom of the uncompleted sea dike faces the risk of collapse,” adding, “we agreed that it is hard to accept that the dike work should come to a halt.”

Chang-Won Kim changkim@donga.com