DPRK Expresses Condolences over Chung Mong-hun's Death

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) expressed deep condolences Tuesday over the death of Chung Mong-hun, chairman of Hyundai Asan Corp., and decided to suspend the Mount Geumgang tour program temporarily as a gesture of mourning.

The message was sent on behalf of the DPRK's Asia-Pacific PeaceCommittee together with other related organizations, including the National Economic Cooperation Federation, South Korean Yonhap NewsAgency quoted the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as reporting.

The committee sent a telegram to Chung Mong-koo, chairman of Hyundai Motor Co. and Chung Mong-hun's brother, and Kim Yoon-kyu, Hyundai Asan president, said KCNA.

In the message, the committee said they "express deep condolences on the sad news of the sudden death of Chairman Chung Mong-hun," adding that the late Chung was a pioneer of economic cooperation between South Korea and the DPRK.

"We cannot help but suspend Mount Geumgang tourism for the timebeing to mourn his death," the KCNA quoted the organization as saying.

"Chung's death was not a suicide in a true sense of the word, but a murder by South Korea's independent counsel and main opposition Grand National Party, which oppose inter-Korean progress," the DPRK insisted.

It said, "The future of the Mount Geumgang project and other inter-Korean cooperative plans are uncertain due to the murder of Chung Mong-hun, who initiated the Mount Geumgang Project, a symbolof the true relationship between South Korea and the DPRK."

The National Economic Cooperation Federation and the Kumgangsan (Mount Geumgang) International Tourism Group of the DPRK sent separate messages of condolences to Hyundai Asan.

In the message, the organizations praised Chung for making "a great contribution to the sacred road to reconciliation, unity andunification.

"He broke the barriers of national division for the prosperity and coexistence of the Korean people," they added.

The DPRK will not send any condolence delegation to come to Seoul, but will organize a sympathy ceremony in DPRK side, according to Hyundai Asan.

Chung, the fifth son of late Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung, jumped from his 12th-floor office to his death early Monday.

He was one of the central figures being tried for alleged involvement in a scandal involving 500 million US dollars secretlygiven to the DPRK just before the 2000 inter-Korean summit.

He also faced other changes of falsifying company documents to hide the money transfer. His passing came days before he was to be summoned by prosecutors for further questioning about his alleged role in the scandal.

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