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2 Koreas remain far apart over Mt. Kumgang issue: official

All News 11:34 November 26, 2019

SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea remain "far apart" in their stances over Pyongyang's demand for the destruction of South Korea-built resort facilities at Mount Kumgang in the communist state, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

Last month, North Korea demanded the South remove all of its resort facilities at Mount Kumgang on its scenic east coast in an apparent bid to end a long-suspended tour project to the mountain.

South Korea has sought face-to-face talks with the North and to send its people to inspect the facilities there. Pyongyang has rejected the offers and threatened to unilaterally remove the facilities unless Seoul tears them down on its own, though it did not provide a deadline.

"South and North Korea remain far apart," the ministry official told reporters when asked if there are any new developments related to the Mount Kumgang issue.

The official did not answer a question as to whether the North has given a date by which the South should remove its facilities at the mountain.

Launched in 1998, the tour program was regarded as a key symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation and economic cooperation. It was suspended in 2008 when a South Korean tourist was shot to death by a North Korean solider.

South Korea has said that it will consider "creative solutions" to the Mount Kumgang issue, saying the mountain has served as not just a tourist destination but also as a venue for major non-political cross-border events such as the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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