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North Korea military to visit Mount Kumgang resort today

Apr 22,2010
A North Korean military delegation will visit the communist state’s eastern mountain resort today, the government said, after Pyongyang froze Seoul-run facilities there in anger over South Korea’s refusal to resume cross-border tours.

The North notified a South Korean tour operator yesterday of the planned visit by a delegation from the National Defense Commission, the highest seat of power in Pyongyang, the Unification Ministry said in a release.

The North “will visit the Mount Kumgang zone at 9 a.m. to check on the results of a real estate survey” that took place late last month and led to the freezing of South Korean government-fun facilities, including a fire station and a duty-free shop, the release said.

The planned visit comes after a similar delegation conducted an unexpected two-day survey of the inter-Korean industrial complex near the west coast early this week. North Korea has threatened to put restrictions on the joint venture if inter-Korean relations do not improve.

On April 8, North Korea evicted South Korean workers from the frozen facilities at Mount Kumgang.

The move reflected Pyongyang’s impatience over Seoul’s reluctance to resume the lucrative tours that were suspended in 2008 after a South Korean tourist was shot dead near the North Korean resort.

North Korea said its agreement with the South Korean tour organizer Hyundai Asan is “no longer valid due to the South Korean authorities” and that it would team up with a new tour operator.

Tours to the mountain used to earn the sanctions-hit North millions of U.S. dollars. Seoul says the tours will not resume until Pyongyang apologizes for the death of the tourist, allows an on-site probe and makes state-to-state promises for tourist safety.

Pyongyang says it has already met all the requirements.

Yonhap


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