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South Korea to repair pedestrian bridge in Panmunjom

Posted June. 03, 2021 07:28,   

Updated June. 03, 2021 07:28


South Korea will begin the repair of a bridge in Panmunjom, where President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had a behind-the-scenes conversation during the inter-Korean summit on April 27, 2018.

According to the Ministry of Unification on Wednesday, it has selected a service provider for the geological survey on the area late last month after discussing its plans to repair some sections of the pedestrian bridge with the United Nations (UN) Command. The repair of the bridge will begin within this month after the geological survey is completed. “A safety investigation of the area is necessary as the sections of the bridge, which need to be repaired, are built over a wetland,” said an official from the Unification Ministry. The ground surface, on which the extended part of the bridge is built, reportedly sank last year. The consultation with the UN Command began in November last year, but the repair work has been delayed by six months as it was thought to be safe to start the construction after spring.

The section to be repaired this time is where Moon and Kim had a 30-minute one-on-one conversation after having a short walk. The pedestrian bridge is a 50-meter bridge built over a wetland immediately after the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement in 1953 in order to facilitate movement between buildings in Panmunjom. The bridge was originally straight-shaped but was extended into a T-shape so that the leaders of the two Koreas can have a conversation during their 2018 summit.

Until now, visitors to Panmunjom were not allowed to access the pedestrian bridge. The South Korean government plans to open the bridge to visitors after the repair is completed in consultation with the UN Command.

Oh-Hyuk Kwon hyuk@donga.com