Direct flights for tours of N. Korea’s Mount Paekdu to start in May: report


Direct flights that will allow tourists from South Korea to visit Mount Paekdu in North Korea will begin in May, Pyongyang’s official state-run news agency said Saturday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the deal was reached in talks between Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jung-eun and representatives of the North’s National Economic Cooperation Federation.

The tours were agreed upon at the summit meeting between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il early last month. Seoul had previously provided materials to repair an airfield near the mountain.

Foreign visitors to Mount Paekdu, whose 2,744-meter peak is the highest on the Korean Peninsula, usually climb the mountain from the Chinese side, although the mountain is a popular tourist destination for foreign tourists in North Korea. Koreans traditionally consider Mount Paekdu a sacred mountain.

The KCNA report also said Hyundai will start tours of Kaesong, an ancient Korean capital, in early December.

Hyundai Asan, a affiliate of the the business group, runs the Kaesong industrial complex that is home to about 50 South Korean companies producing clothes, shoes, watches and kitchen appliances.

The inter-Korean complex 60 kilometers northeast of Seoul is hailed as the crowning achievement of the historic first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000. It has played a key role in expanding two-way economic exchanges from just $300 million in 1999 to $1.35 billion last year.

The North Korean news agency said Hyun and Hyundai Asian president Yoon Man-joon met with Kim Jong-il.

The two senior executives are expected to return to South Korea later in the day.


Comments are closed.