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South Korea to relocate capital

Beijing: The South Korean Government confirmed on Wednesday that it would create a new capital in what will be one of Asia's biggest ever construction projects. Under the 26-billion scheme, a site in the sleepy region of Gongju-Yongi, 160 km south of Seoul will replace it as the seat of Parliament and Government by 2020. Despite sharp divisions among the public and the mixed results of similarly ambitious projects by other states, the President, Roh Moo-Hyun, insists relocation is necessary to ease chronic overcrowding in Seoul, redistribute the state's wealth, and lessen the danger of a bombardment by North Korea. Gongju-Yongi is a hilly, rural area in Korea's midlands. Its selection was finalised on Wednesday — although an appeal has been made to the Constitutional Court — and caused joy among local farmers expecting a property boom. —

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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