중앙데일리

Hyundai Group hopes to operate new North tours

Oct 06,2007
Hyun Jeong-eun
Hyundai Group may soon be able to expand its tourism program in North Korea from the Mount Kumgang program to the city of Kaesong and Mount Paekdu, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula. The group’s chairwoman, Hyun Jeong-eun, discussed the plan with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during the presidential summit earlier this week. Hyun, one of 17 business representatives who accompanied South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun on his trip to the North, talked about her trip and future plans during an exclusive interview with the Joongang Ilbo on her way to the office yesterday morning.

Q. We heard Kim talked a lot about Chung Mong-hun (Hyun’s late husband).
A. Yes, Kim often talked about my husband, like how the two got together to drink makgeolli and how my husband admired the unspoiled beauty of Mount Paekdu.

Do you think Hyundai Asan will be the exclusive tour operator of Mount Paekdu?
We were asked to do this [by Kim]. I sat next to Kim at the lunch table yesterday, and Kim said I had begged him to give Mount Paekdu to Hyundai over the past two years.
[Hyun, after she met Kim in July 2005, said he offered her group exclusive rights to operate tour programs at Mount Paekdu and Kaesong.]

Are you planning to connect a possible tourism program at Mount Paekdu with those for Mount Kumgang and Kaesong?
I think that is the direction we should move toward, and my personal wish is to include Pyongyang in the program as well. North Korea seems to be satisfied with the performance of the tour program at Mount Kumgang.

Any progress in a possible trip program to Kaesong?
I was going to talk about it with Kim but I didn’t, thinking it would be too blatant. I was scheduled to visit North Korea in August to discuss Kaesong tourism program plans, but the presidential summit delayed the visit. We will probably visit North Korea again, and working officials will iron out detailed plans for the Paekdu tour program and discuss a possible plan for a Kaesong tourism program.

What discussions took place?
Problems of communication, transportation and customs at the Kaesong Industrial Complex are likely to be solved. The industrial park will thrive.


By Park Hyun-young JoongAng Ilbo [hawon@joongang.co.kr]



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