S Korea warns to "resolutely" deal with DPRK over tour debacle

11:31, April 14, 2010      

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The South Korean government on Wednesday renewed its call for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to withdraw its unilateral measures further damaging already moribund cross-border tour programs, saying it will " resolutely" deal with it if situations deteriorate.

"If North Korea (DPRK) continues to take these unjustifiable measures or further escalates the situation, we will consider it an act seriously damaging inter-Korean relations and resolutely deal with it," said Seoul's unification ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo.

The latest in a series of denunciations against the DPRK comes after the country took steps to freeze South Korea-held assets in a resort at Mount Kumgang, one of the destinations for the ill- fated cross-border tours, and kicked out three ethnic South Koreans working there.

The moves, which met with immediate protest from the South Korea side, were apparently in response to what Pyongyang sees as Seoul's lack of will to resume the lucrative tours, once a symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Seoul has repeatedly said Pyongyang's arbitrary measures are in violation of agreements between business operators in both countries and also run counter to international conventions.

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 sentinel.

Tours to the border town of Kaesong was also suspended in the same year, rapidly souring inter-Korean ties. Earlier this year, the two sides held working-level talks on reopening the tours but failed to narrow differences on major outstanding issues.

Source: Xinhua


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