14-day examination period for tours to demilitarized border village of Panmunjom likely to be shortened: UN

In this Dec. 16, 2019, photo, South Korean army soldiers stand guard at the Unification Bridge, which leads to the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea. The U.S. is closely watching North Korea for signs of a possible missile launch or nuclear test in the coming days that officials are referring to as a “Christmas surprise.” (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, May 17, 2020, Yonhap. The 14-day-long examination period required for South Koreans’ tours to the demilitarized border village of Panmunjom may be cut to a three-day process, the United Nations Command (UNC) said Sunday, Yonhap reported.

The UNC said it is currently discussing the simplification plan with the South Korean government.

“The 14-day examination required for Koreans wishing to visit the Joint Security Area (JSA) is South Korea’s own regulation which the UNC has been implementing for over than 10 years for South Korea,” the UNC said.

After confirming the South Korean government’s position not to retain the 14-day process, the UNC is planning to cooperate with the Ministry of Unification to adopt a new rule, said the UNC, which authorizes human traffic through the JSA.

Currently, a maximum of 14 days are required in security clearance for South Korean visitors to the border area while an average of three days are needed to approve a non-Korean’s visit.

The upcoming simplification decision is expected to shorten the process for Koreans to the same three days required for foreigners.

The UNC is planning to resume tourist visits to the JSA as soon as next month after they were suspended in October last year due to outbreaks of the African swine fever in the area.

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