Thursday, 23 June 2011

South Korea to develop border islands

South Korea opts for the blue line, while North Korea argues for the red
The South Korean government has revealed plans to invest heavily in five islands near the border with North Korea, Prime Minister Kim Hwang Sik's office said on Wednesday 22nd June.

The 10-year, 910 billion won (US$848 million) plan will see investments in the security and living conditions on the islands of Yeonpyeong, Baengnyeong, Daecheong, Socheong and Udo.

Yeonpyeong island (labelled 1 on the map) was the site of a major confrontation between North and South Korea last November. The North's artillery attack on the island, following a Southern live fire military exercise, resulted in four people being killed and a number of buildings being destroyed.

All five islands are located just south of the UN-designed maritime border, the Northern Limit Line (NLL), which was established at the end of the Korean War (1950-1953). The North, however, does not recognise the NLL, and while it does not claim the islands themselves, it does claim the water around them.

The South's plan calls for efforts to stabilise the lives of the residents, as it is recognised that they live with considerable uncertainty, being located so close to the north.

Money will be provided to improve educational and medical access, and some 40 shelters will be built to improve security in the case of a North Korean attack.

Tourism and the fishery industry will also be invested in. The Prime Minister's office said “The plans will also be of great help in revitalizing the regional economy.”

Sources: Bloomberg, KBS World, Yonhap
For more information, please see the Menas Borders website, here.

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