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Seoul City projects hit snag

Large-scale projects by Seoul City, such as the expansion of the Gwanghwamun Plaza and the redevelopment of Euljiro, have hit a snag, as the city government appears to have failed to sufficiently discuss them with relevant entities.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said in a statement Wednesday that there has been no agreement between the ministry and Seoul City regarding the city government’s plan to include some buildings and plots of the central government complex in the restructuring of the Gwanghwamun Plaza.

The city government unveiled its plan Monday to increase the size of the plaza by 3.7 times by 2021 by removing roadways between the plaza and the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

Blueprint of new Gwanghwamun Square to be completed in 2021 (Seoul Metropolitan Government)
Blueprint of new Gwanghwamun Square to be completed in 2021 (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

According to the ministry, should construction work proceed based on the design that won an international competition, the main entrance and the ring road within the central government complex in Seoul would be closed, and annexes such as the visitor information office and the security guard office would be torn down.

This would make it difficult to run the government complex, the ministry said.

The ministry said it has constantly expressed its position to the city government at meetings, and that it will discuss with Seoul City how to resolve the issue.

As for the city’s plan to build a new station for the high-speed Great Train Express line in Gwanghwamun, the Ministry of Land and Transport has expressed disapproval.

The ministry insists that because the new station is not in the design, it would be possible only if Seoul City pays for it entirely. The short distance between the envisioned Gwanghwamun Station for the GTX line and the City Hall Station may slow down the train, and could possibly affect demand for the GTX.

The new design for the Gwanghwamun Plaza also includes moving the statue of Joseon Dynasty’s Adm. Yi Sun-shin to next to the central government complex, and the statue of King Sejong to next to the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

Upon criticism against the plan to relocate the statues, Seoul City said it was going to make the decisions after discussions.

The city’s work to redevelop the Cheongyecheon and Euljiro area, which has been going on for over 10 years, has also hit a snag, as it was recently made known that some famous restaurants were included in the sections for refurbishment.

By Kim So-hyun (
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Korea Herald daum