South Korea to Open Military Zones for Public Use

SEOUL — The South Korean defense ministry announced plans on Monday to deregulate a record area of military protection zones, allowing for public development and use. This initiative aims to address the concerns of residents living near military facilities by making previously restricted zones available for construction and expansion projects without military consultation.

According to Yonhap News Agency, approximately 339 square kilometers of land across the country will be deregulated, marking the largest such initiative since the relevant legislation was enacted in 2007.

The deregulation will include significant areas around military airfields in Seosan and six other locations, as well as zones in four border regions, including Cheorwon County. Additionally, an area in Pyeongtaek will be opened up, facilitating the establishment of an elementary school previously hindered by military zoning restrictions. This move is part of ongoing efforts to balance national security needs with local development and public access, reflecting the government's responsive approach to civilian concerns over military land use.

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