South is spurned on trip to Mt. Kumgang

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South is spurned on trip to Mt. Kumgang

The trip to North Korea’s Mount Kumgang resort by a South Korean team of 12 government officials and civilians ended after just three hours yesterday. The team returned empty-handed without even a glimpse of high-ranking North Korean officials with whom to discuss matters.

“The members turned back after they were told by North Korean personnel that they would only [talk with] civilian contractors,” said the Ministry of Unification. “They told the South Korean team to go back if they had no thoughts of obliging.”

The ministry said the South Korean representatives were told to do so during regular planning negotiations with North Korean officials after they had entered the mountain resort.

Planning negotiations are a mandatory process for all South Korean visitors when they enter the North to negotiate schedules with North Korean personnel.

The South Korean officials explained they had come to listen to North Korea’s plans on what they were planning to do with the South Korean assets at Mount Kumgang.

The officials also said they were planning to deliver the South Korean government’s stance to the North’s officials, which the workers from North Korea’s Guidance Bureau for Comprehensive Development of Scenic Spots turned down.

The team had made the visit in response to a request from the North earlier this month involving the issue of frozen or seized South Korean assets at the mountain resort.

The team had crossed the inter-Korean border at 9:40 a.m. The 12, including officials from the Ministry of Unification and Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture as well as a prosecutor from the Ministry of Justice, received entry to the North without any additional information on who or where they would be meeting.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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