North proposes meeting on tours

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North proposes meeting on tours

North Korea proposed a separate inter-Korean meeting later this month to resume cross-border tours to Mount Kumgang, according to Seoul’s Ministry of Unification on Saturday.

It came a day after the two Koreas agreed to hold family reunions from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5.

The ministry officials said the ministry received a message from the North suggesting government-level talks in Kaesong on Oct. 15 to discuss the issue of resuming the Kumgang tour. The issue of the South side’s real estate in the North Korean mountain area was also mentioned in the message the North hopes to discuss, the officials said.

The tour, a source of desperate cash for North Korea, was suspended by Seoul after a South Korean tourist was shot to death by a North Korean soldier near the mountain area in July 2008.

North Korea demanded South Korea link the resumption of the tours to the upcoming family reunion, causing the two previous working-level meetings over the reunion to fail in deciding the venue. In Friday’s third meeting, however, the North agreed on the venue after Seoul promised to consider holding separate talks to resume the tour.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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