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Controversy over Mt. Kumgang Tour

Dec 30,1998
Through its state-run Pyongyang Broadcasting, North Korea argued on December 30 that the Mt. Kumgang tour program faced an obstacle stemming from disturbances created by the U.S. and South Korean governments.
The report by Pyongyang Broadcasting was the first publicly-expressed reaction on the tour from the North since Mt. Kumgang cruise ships began sailing.
The broadcast stated, 'The most important problem is Hyundai's exclusive right to use tour facilities for the next 30 years. At this time, we cannot approve Hyundai's exclusive rights for such a considerable length of time.'
It continued, 'The U.S. and South Korean governments have used this tour program for their own political agendas describing it as a tangible result of policy efforts towards the North. In light of this, the program can be halted at any time.'
However, experts in the South predict that there is only a slim possibility of suspending the program because the North is receiving a substantial amount of much needed foreign currency each month from Hyundai.
The number of Mt. Kumgang tourists broke the 10,000 mark as of December 30 and Hyundai has sent 2.18 million dollars to North Korea.



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