DPRK's unilateral annulment of contracts on cross-border tours hard to understand: S Korea

14:55, March 05, 2010      

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Seoul said Friday it is hard to understand Pyongyang's warning a day ago to unilaterally revoke all inter-Korean deals related to the suspended cross-border tour programs, calling the possible move a violation of the agreements between the two sides and the internal law of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"As far as I understand, North Korea (DPRK)'s internal law also stipulates protection of investment. So the unilateral abrogation of the inter-Korean contracts or agreements would contradict the North's internal law and create other problems regarding contracts between the (DPRK's) Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and Hyundai Asan Corp.," Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told reporters in a briefing.

"It is hard to understand that (a contract) can be abrogated or modified arbitrarily," he said. The remarks come a day after the DPRK threatened in a statement late Thursday to take "decisive measures" against Seoul.

The official news agency KCNA reported on Thursday that DPRK would resume cross-border tours regardless of South Korean opposition.

A spokesman for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee issued a statement saying it would reopen the Kaesong area for tourists from March and Mt. Kumgang from April.

He said services and safety would be "fully provided" for tourists entering the DPRK from the south.

The South Korean authorities' continued blocking of the tours would compel the DPRK to "take decisive measures," which could include the "abrogation of all agreements and contracts on tourism provided by the DPRK to the south side as special benefits," "the freezing of real estate of the south side in the tourist areas and other matters," the spokesman said.

Park Wang-ja, a female tourist in her 50s, was shot to death in July 2008 by a DPRK sentinel after she wandered into a restricted area, but South Korea's request for an on-sight probe was rejected by the DPRK.

On Feb. 8, the two sides held working-level talks on reopening the tours but failed to narrow differences on major issues, as Seoul reiterated its position that safety measures should be drawn up for South Korean tourists and launch a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the shooting incident. At the talks, Pyongyang said the issues Seoul brought up have been already addressed and suggested restarting tours to Kaesong on March 1 and tours to a resort on April 1, a stance it repeated in the statement Wednesday.

Source: Xinhua
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