Thousands of South Koreans poured into the presidential Blue House in leafy northern Seoul on Wednesday, after President Yoon Suk-yeol made good on a marketing campaign promise to return the once-fortified compound to the folks.
The constructing, named for the roughly 150,000 hand-painted blue tiles that adorn its roof, has been house to South Korea’s leaders since 1948, and was largely restricted to the general public.
That has modified since Yoon, a former high prosecutor who was sworn in on Tuesday, refused to maneuver in, saying the hilltop headquarters — on a website as soon as utilized by former colonial energy Japan — fostered an “imperial” presidency and undermine communication with the general public.
Instead, Yoon is working from the 10-storey defence ministry constructing — an undistinguished workplace block in downtown Seoul, rapidly adorned with the presidential seal.
Critics have slammed the transfer as a expensive waste of money and time, which might additionally put the nation’s safety in jeopardy at a time of excessive tensions with the nuclear-armed North.
But on opening day, South Koreans flocked to the 250,000-square-metre advanced, which is flanked by mountains and nestled behind the royal Gyeongbokgung Palace.
“It is an honour of my life to come here and actually see the presidential office,” Choi Jung-bun, 70, advised AFP as she ate a packed lunch by a stream in its backyard.
“This is a deeply storied site that conjures up old Korean kings and modern-day presidents. I am sure it will become one of the major tourist attractions.”
– Back to the folks –
According to officers, greater than 25,000 folks toured the advanced on the primary day of full opening, having signed up upfront.
Visitors appeared thrilled to lastly be allowed inside, with large queues in entrance of the principle constructing as folks waited patiently to take images.
That was even if the constructing itself has not but been opened to guests over safety issues, for instance over communications tools that also must be eliminated.
Up to 39,000 guests per day will probably be allowed to go to the advanced, officers stated, in the course of the first section of the general public opening, which runs till May 22.
In the previous, the presidential workplace ran a a lot smaller tour program that allowed 1,500 guests per day, with restrictions on many areas.
However, the modifications is probably not everlasting if the opposition has its approach.
“When the Democratic Party wins the next presidency, we will go back to the Blue House,” former get together chairman Song Young-gil stated final week in an interview with native media.
But Cho Ok-kyung, a 61-year-old customer from Bucheon, west of Seoul, stated the compound had been returned to the folks — and it ought to keep that approach.
“I’d like this place to keep open indefinitely so that future generations can enjoy it too.”
– Bad feng shui? –
Yoon’s critics have stated his want to maneuver the workplace was tied to his perception in feng shui, a standard non secular apply which stresses the significance of concord between people and nature.
The former prosecutor has been dogged by accusations of ties to a shaman, which he has denied.
The Blue House has lengthy been rumoured to foster unhealthy luck for its residents, given the assassination, impeachment, corruption trials and imprisonment which have befallen South Korean presidents.
Yoon’s vow that he wouldn’t spend a single day within the Blue House compound even drew criticism from his predecessor Moon Jae-in, who known as the choice “dangerous” amid heightened tensions with North Korea.
“It is hard to understand how the decision was formulated to determine Yoon would not spend a day at the Blue House,” Moon stated final month.
The transfer can be guilty for Yoon’s record-low approval ranking of simply 41 %, in line with a current Gallup ballot.
Yoon began his time period in workplace with a safety briefing in an underground bunker, as he faces an more and more belligerent Pyongyang.
North Korea has performed a report 15 weapons assessments since January, together with two launches simply days earlier than his inauguration. (AFP)