S. Korea yet to decide on visit to mountain resort in DPRK

13:19, June 20, 2011      

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South Korea is undecided whether to send local business operators holding assets at a mountain resort jointly developed with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK), the unification ministry said Monday.

"We will deal with the issue with a belief that business contracts and inter-Korean governmental agreements must be respected and property rights of South Korean companies should not be infringed upon," Chun Hae-sung, spokesman for the unification ministry, which oversees inter-Korean affairs, told reporters.

"We will talk to business operators and companies about visiting North Korea (DPRK)," he said, adding no decision has been made yet.

Last week, the DPRK demanded South Korean companies visit Mount Kumgang near the inter-Korean border by the end of the month "to discuss the matter of disposing of the frozen and seized properties" owned by the firms.

Pyongyang, in a unilateral move last year, seized South Korean- owned assets at the mountain resort as Seoul continued to insist tours to the scenic mountain will not resume without a proper investigation and assurance of safety.

The tours, once a lucrative source of hard cash for Pyongyang, suspended in 2008 after a South Korean tourist was shot dead there. Launched in 1998, the program had brought nearly two million South Koreans to the mountain.

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