A 2.3 billion won or $2.1 million of the inter-Korean cooperation funds was decided by South Korea on Thursday to be used for the repair of a bridge near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), according to the unification ministry.
The decision to rebuild the “Bima Bridge” was agreed upon by a civilian-government committee on inter-Korean exchanges.
The bridge, ravaged by flood and heavy rain last year, serves as the only passage toward the Arrowhead Ridge located on the border with the North in Cheorwon.
“With the repair of the Bima Bridge, we will prepare for people’s safer travel to the peace road when concerns over the African swine fever and COVID-19 ease and the right conditions are created,” expressed the ministry in a press briefing.
In a summit between South Korea President Moon Jae-in and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un in 2018, the South opened travel paths along the inter-Korean border, along with their concord to transform the DMZ into a “peace zone”.
But the path had not become completely functional because of health threats, like the African swine fever and COVID-19.
The repair of the bridge will commence in March 2022 following the completion of structure design and other necessary preparations, the ministry said.
The structure is hoped to be completed in the later months of 2023.
Moreover, the committee also agreed to give 700 million won to establish a “one-stop” information system intended to provide different data on the DMZ and become an information dissemination tool to make people aware of the peaceful benefit of the border area.
The DMZ, which measures 250-kilometer-long and 4-kim wide, functions as a neutral area between the North and the South Korea.
Since the Korean War in 1950 to 1953, the two Koreans maintained a sense of war as a peace treaty was not met.
Meanwhile, the excavation activities of Korean war remains at the DMZ will be continued by the South on Monday, the defense ministry said.
The resumption of the activities will focus on the Arrowhead Ridge’s South Korean side.
Ninety-four percent of excavations out of the goal have been completed last year.
According to the ministry, the North had been informed of the resumption, along with its intention to further the area of the excavation.
The excavation project was agreed upon by the two Koreas based on an accord signed by both sides last September 2018.
There had been no word from the North regarding the combined excavation project, pushing the South to pursue it alone.