S Korea to respond to DPRK's property threat if necessary: gov't

16:30, March 22, 2010      

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The South Korean authorities will, if necessary, respond to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s threat to confiscate the South Korea's real estate inside the resort area of Mt. Kumgang, one of the destinations of the suspended cross-border tours, the government said Monday.

"The authorities will take necessary measures when situations require them," Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae- sung told reporters, referring to the DPRK's warning last week that it would scrap all inter-Korean deals regarding the cross- border tour programs.

"But (the DPRK) has yet to take a particular step,"he said.

Last week, Pyongyang said that it would look into assets held by South Korean firms in the resort area, which local media previously said it would amount to 360 billion won (31 million U.S. dollars), and find a "new business partner" if Seoul refuses to reopen the tour by April.

Seoul has expressed regret over the threat and said the government would respect business operators in deciding what they would do in response to the DPRK's investigation.

North Korea (DPRK) should respond Tours to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998 and run by South Korea's Hyundai Asan Corp., was halted in 2008 soon after a South Korean female tourist was shot to death by a DPRK's sentinel, Seoul said.


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