DPRK reopens “seized” RoK assets in Kumgang

According to Yonhap:

North Korea has reopened a South Korean-built hotel and restaurant in Mount Kumgang on its eastern coast and has started to receive visitors, a pro-Pyongyang daily published in Japan said Saturday.

The Choson Sinbo said Hotel Kumgangsan and the Mokrangwan restaurant opened for business July 20 and will offer services to both foreign and local guests.

However, the Choson Sinbo reported that none of the visitors has spent the night at the 215-room hotel.

“All the tourists so far have stayed overnight at Wonsan and only visited the mountains during the day,” it said. Wonson is located further north in South Hamgyong Province.

The hotel was built and operated by South Korea’s Hyundai Asan Corporation and had been used by tourists from the South until 2008, when a North Korean guard shot and killed a female tourist at a nearby beach.

Since the fatal shooting, Seoul has banned tourists from the mountain report, with Pyongyang taking steps in early October to freeze all Hyundai assets and start its own independent operations. Hyundai employees at the site were also expelled from the resort.

The tours to Mount Kumgang — hailed as a symbol of reconciliation between the countries — began in late 1998, and nearly 2 million South Koreans visited the zone before they were suspended.

South Korean’s Unification Ministry said local companies invested an estimated 420 billion won (US$374 million) to develop the border resort that includes a golf course, several restaurants and a 157-room floating hotel called the Haekumgang.

A group of Chinese diplomats recently visited Kumgang.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea reopens hotel, restaurant on scenic Mount Kumgang: newspaper
Yonhap
8/7/2010

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