(Cultural Heritage Administration-Yonhap)
South Korea will conduct comprehensive research on cultural assets and natural heritage inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the border with North Korea, the cultural heritage authority said Monday.
In collaboration with the provincial governments of Gyeoggi Province and Gangwon Province, the survey will start Tuesday and run for one year, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA).
The 55-member panel will look for archaeological relics and flora and fauna in 40 sites and villages, including the Joint Security Area (JSA), in the truce village of Panmunjom, it added.
The first joint survey will be held from Tuesday to Friday at the village of Daeseong-dong, the only civilian habitation within the southern portion of the DMZ.
The DMZ, which cuts across the middle of the peninsula, is a buffer zone between the North and South, roughly 250 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide.
The project is part of the 2018 inter-Korean summit deal on the peaceful use of the DMZ and Seoul's plan to turn the no man's land into a global peace zone.
It is also the first step in South Korea's efforts to jointly inscribe the DMZ on the list of UN-designated world heritage sites, according to CHA.
CHA said it is the first time that the Seoul government will carry out cultural research on the no man's land in nearly 70 years since the DMZ was formed under an armistice agreement after the 1950-53 Korean War.
"This is the first comprehensive survey on cultural and natural heritage across the DMZ that has remained untouched for about 70 years," CHA said in a statement. "Based on the one-year project, we will seek to get value from the DMZ as a peacekeeping site and make efforts to transform the land into a peace zone." (Yonhap)