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S. Korea to make efforts to resume tours to N. Korean mountain resort

All Headlines 13:47 March 24, 2014

SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea pledged Monday to make efforts to resume stalled tours to North Korea's scenic mountain resort as Pyongyang sought the resumption of the lucrative project.

South Korea has suspended tours to Mount Kumgang on North Korea's east coast since 2008 after a South Korean female tourist was shot dead by a North Korean guard.

In January, the North's powerful National Defense Commission reiterated Pyongyang's long-standing demand that the tour program be resumed, noting North Korea is determined to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity.

"The government plans to make consistent efforts to ensure that the tours to Mount Kumgang will be resumed by dispelling public concerns," the unification ministry said in a white paper.

Still, the ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said South and North Korea should take measures to firmly guarantee the safety of South Koreans to ensure similar incidents do not recur.

Also Monday, unification ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said the North should take responsible measures before South Korea considers resuming the tours to Mount Kumgang, though he did not elaborate on what he meant by responsible measures.

The tour program to Mount Kumgang had provided a legitimate source of hard currency to the cash-strapped North Korea before it was halted in 2008.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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