Companies apply to visit Kumgang

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Companies apply to visit Kumgang

South Korean companies with real estate in Mount Kumgang, North Korea, applied for permits to visit the North at the Ministry of Unification in response to its threat to confiscate properties at the scenic resort, Hyundai Asan Corporation said in a release yesterday.

Among the 33 organizations that applied for a visit are Hyundai Asan, Korea Tourism Organization and Emerson Pacific Group. A total of 52 people from the organizations will travel to the North today and tomorrow.

North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said in a March 18 statement that it would examine all real estate at the Mount Kumgang resort held by South Koreans and called a meeting of the owners tomorrow. It also warned that it would confiscate any property whose representatives did not visit the resort by 11 a.m. tomorrow. “The assets of those who do not come by the specified date will be seized and they won’t be able to come back to Mount Kumgang,” the committee said.

The committee also said on March 4 that it would abolish all tourism-related contracts with the South unless South Korea sent tourists to Mount Kumgang and Kaesong, the ancient capital of Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392).

South Koreans hold 359.3 billion won ($316 million) worth of property in Mount Kumgang. Hyundai Asan owns hotels and restaurants; Korea Tourism Organization holds hot springs and performance halls; and Emerson Pacific has golf courses, among others.

“We don’t know what North Korea would do,” said a KTO spokesperson. “We will go and see what happens.”

By Limb Jae-un []
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