Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The South Korean government has decided to build a new $1.4 million integrated management system to increase civilian travel to the truce village of Panmunjom, which was disarmed in 2018.
Seoul arrived at the decision following the 311th meeting of the South and North Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council, Newsis reported Wednesday.
South Korea plans to operate tour support centers, permit the leasing of Panmunjom tour vehicles and hire new staff members to support the new travel policy, according to the report.
Seoul also made other budget-related decisions on Wednesday.
The Inter-Korean Joint Office, with its main office in Kaesong, North Korea, was conferred a $5.5 million operating budget, and the Center for Unified Korean Future, a government agency, is to receive $3.5 million.
South Korea sent a delegation to the Inter-Korean Joint Office, according to Seoul Pyongyang News on Wednesday.
Suh Ho, a deputy minister at the unification ministry, visited Kaesong for the first time in a month.
Suh and his delegation are to stay in the North for two days.
Unification ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min said natural and spontaneous contact with North Korean personnel is usually realized during the visits.
North Korea has rejected the South's offer of working-level talks since 2019, but members of Seoul's ruling party support President Moon Jae-in's engagement policy.
Democratic Party leader Lee Hae-chan, a former prime minister under President Roh Moo-hyun, met with a religious leader in Seoul on Wednesday to discuss inter-Korean affairs, News 1 reported.
Lee, who recently caused controversy with his remarks about the disabled, said Seoul has "started efforts" to improve inter-Korea relations.
Lee, who was meeting with director Oh Do-cheol at the Won Buddhism Sotaesan Memorial in southern Seoul, said all religious leaders he has met with had told him Seoul should "play a more active role in inter-Korea relations this year."
Oh said unification would be a "very important turning point" for Koreans to become more deeply involved in a "global civil society," according to the report.