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Denuclearization should come before discussing resumption of Mount Kumgang tour: official

All Headlines 11:34 July 10, 2018

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- There should be progress in denuclearization and other conditions should be created before talking about resumption of a long-suspended joint tourism project at Mount Kumgang on North Korea's east coast, a Seoul official said Tuesday.

South Korea has suspended the tour project since July 2008 after a female South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean guard near the resort.

"There should be progress in denuclearization and other relevant conditions should be created for full-swing economic cooperation (with the North)," a unification ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"It is also necessary for the two Koreas to discuss the safety issue for tourists."

This is a reiteration of the Seoul government's stance that economic cooperation with the North should wait until Pyongyang makes good on its denuclearization pledge. The U.S. has also said that sanctions will remain until the North renounces its nuclear and missile programs completely.

Launched in 1998, the tour program attracted more than 1.95 million visitors before its closure.

It is regarded as one of two major inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, along with a joint industrial park in North Korea's border town of Kaesong, whose operation was halted in February 2016 following the North's missile and nuclear provocations.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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