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Panmunjom tours likely to resume once virus testing guarantees safety

YONHAP NEWS

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea is likely to resume its tour program to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom if the border region is confirmed to be free of the African swine fever.

Tours to the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which takes visitors to the southern side of Panmunjom, were suspended in October last year, when the highly contagious African swine fever was reported near the border with North Korea.

“Dead bodies of wild pigs have been found at the DMZ, including Panmunjom, and the African swine fever virus has been detected in their bodies,” an official at the unification ministry said.

“Health authorities said they will inform us of the results of the testing by May. We plan to decide whether to resume the tours after the results come out.”

Earlier this month, Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said in a press briefing he expects the tours to resume in June but starting with a small group of people on a temporary basis.

The leadership of South Korea's ruling Democratic Party, led by Chairman Lee Hae-chan, waves toward North Korean students visiting the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom on the southern side of the village on May 31, 2019. Lee's group was on a security tour to the village on the occasion of the first anniversary of the April 27 joint declaration made between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (pool photo) (Yonhap)

The leadership of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, led by Chairman Lee Hae-chan, waves toward North Korean students visiting the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom on the southern side of the village on May 31, 2019. Lee’s group was on a security tour to the village on the occasion of the first anniversary of the April 27 joint declaration made between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (pool photo) (Yonhap)

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Article: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20200519004900325?section=nk/nk