NATIONAL

Gyeonggi plans to restart reforestation project for NK

By Yonhap
  • Published : May 14, 2018 - 14:36
  • Updated : May 14, 2018 - 14:36
EUIJEONGBU -- South Korea's Gyeonggi Province said Monday that it plans to reopen its suspended seedling breeding center in North Korea if the upcoming talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Trump go well and UN sanctions on the North are subsequently lifted.

The province launched a four-year project to build the nursery on a 6-hectare lot as a reforestation aid project at Kaepung Village in the North Korean western border town of Kaesong in 2007, with the nursery capable of growing 1.5 million trees per annum.

The Kaepung Nursery with six seedling greenhouses was completed in May 2008, and the province provided seeds, seedlings, fertilizers and machines to it later.

(Yonhap)

But the project came to a halt in 2010, when the Seoul government took punitive steps against the North after its torpedoing of the South Korean naval ship Cheonan on the southern side of the western inter-Korean maritime border on March 26 that year, killing 46 sailors. The steps included the suspension of all aid projects.

The nursery is now highly likely to be in dormancy with no assistance, and moreover, its solar power generation facilities are known to have been severely damaged by lightning in October 2010.

"We plan to restart the nursery if and when UN sanctions on the North are removed as a result of successful North Korea-US summit talks," a provincial government official said.

The South Korean border county of Yeoncheon also plans to provide seedlings to the North.

The county already has the "Peace Forest," which it created with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, a German aid organization, to help the North restore its ruined forests.

At present, 40,000 pine tree and 5,000 birch seedlings are growing in the 38,122-square-meter forest.

One-third of the North's 8.99 million hectares of forest has reportedly been devastated on account of excessive fuel use.(Yonhap)