DPRK threatens to scrap Kumgang agreement

According to Yonhap:

North Korea threatened Thursday to revoke its contracts with [Hyundai Asan] for tours to its Mount Kumgang unless the Seoul government agrees to quickly resume the tourism program that was suspended two years ago, following the shooting death of a South Korean tourist.

Officials from South and North Korea held a fresh round of talks early last month, but failed to reach an agreement on measures that will ensure the safety of South Korean tourists traveling to the communist nation.

“If the South Korean government continues to block the travel route while making false accusations, we will be left with no choice but to take extreme measures,” an unidentified spokesman for the North’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a statement carried by the country’s official (North) Korean Central News Agency.

The spokesman added such measures will include the nullification of contracts with South Korea’s Hyundai Asan for the mountain tour program.

Yonhap notes that Seoul is demanding an official apology for the death of the female South Korean tourist in 2008.  In the past, however, Seoul has made multiple demands to the DPRK for resumption of Kumgang Tours. The South Korean government does not plan to allow tourists to return to Mt. Kumgang until the DPRK:

1. Cooperates in an investigation of the shooting of a South Korean tourist last year.

2. Implements measures to prevent a recurrence.

3. Guarantees tourist safety.

4. Provides more transparency about how it spends the money it receives from the Kumgang resort.

Accordong to Yonhap, the DPRK is willing to implement No. 3.


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