"It is my first time to reach the peak in more than 50 years since I started farming on the mountains. It has been used for the sake of military security,” said Jeon Woo-yang on the summit of Mt. Jangsan in Haeundae District, Busan, 634 meters above sea level, at 7 p.m. on the first day of 2022. He seemed deeply excited by the sceneries of the 80-story Marine City forming a breathtakingly dense skyline and the ridges of Tsushima Island, Japan.
Mr. Jeon has lived in Jangsan Village at 550 meters above seal level since 1967 when he was relocated under the government's project on the renovation of the Jangsan area to cultivate a wild yard to grow highland vegetables. To this hardworking farmer, the summit of the mountains has always been an unreachable and forbidden place. "All other early residents died but it is only me who is still alive. If it had been open to the public earlier, they would have been happy about it,” he said.
It is generally known that public access to this area has been prohibited for almost 70 years since the Korean War when military communications facilities were built on the summit. However, the fact is that it has been more than a century since it was kept under control.
Around 50-plus visitors including Mr. Jeon visited the peak of Mt. Jangsan on the first day of the new year. The Haeundae district office held a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the summit of the mountains with a New Year's sunrise event with a limit on the number of visitors put for quarantine reasons. Artists of Korean classical music added more heat to the event with "A Tiger is Coming” performed on stage. Crowds exclaimed in delight over the reddishly burning sun rising over the horizon of the East Sea. Wishes for harmony and companionship were made by sprinkling soil samples collected from 18 places in Haeundae District such as Dongbaek Island on the summit.
The peak of Mt. Jangsan was temporarily open to the public solely on Saturday. It is scheduled to be open regularly in April. Only 640m² is accessible to the public out of the peak area of 1500m² with the rest equipped with military and telecommunications facilities.