S.Korea’s Blue House to open to public as Yoon overhauls gov’t premises

Seoul, May 9 (EFE).- South Korea’s Blue House will open to the public on Tuesday, the same day president Yoon Suk-yeol will be sworn into office following his decision to move the presidential complex to a new site.

Seoul’s Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae), a sprawling complex that combines traditional South Korean architecture with modern features, has long been the political hub of the Asian nation.

Up until now, visits to the compound were limited but from Tuesday tourists will be able to meander the grounds.

Yoon announced his decision to move the presidential office to the defense ministry compound in the Yongsan district shortly after winning elections in March, a measure he said would symbolically put an end to the “imperial” presidential system, the incoming president was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

The move has drawn criticism due to its cost, some 36 billion won (about $29 million) from government reserve funds, as well as the speed at which the new government headquarters have been set up.

The main government office building, the State Guest House (Yeongbin-gwan) where official meetings and events with foreign dignitaries were held, and the 3,300-square-meter Nokjiwon garden, which is home to some 120 species of trees, will all be open to the public from Tuesday.

Some 39,000 visitors will be able to visit the Blue House daily, although many areas inside the compound will not be accessible due to security issues, according to the president-elect’s team.

Incoming president Yoon’s team added that they hope the entire facilities will be open to visitors soon. EFE


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