North Korea has turned down South Korea’s proposal to hold a working-level meeting over the regime’s plan to tear down the South’s facilities at the Kumgangsan tourist resort, the Unification Ministry said Tuesday.
“The North has insisted on discussing a demolition plan and schedule for (South Korea’s) facilities (at the Kumgangsan resort) by means of exchanging documents without having to hold a working-level meeting proposed by our side,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it received a letter from North Korea on Tuesday, a day after it suggested the face-to-face meeting. The North also sent a separate letter to South Korean tour operator Hyundai Asan.
“The government will work closely with the operators on the tourism issue of Kumgangsan to prepare a countermeasure based on the government’s principle that all issues of inter-Korean relations should be resolved through dialogue and consultation,” the ministry said.
Last week, the North notified the South that it would tear down the latter’s facilities in the tourist zone in accordance with the orders of its leader Kim Jong-un, who wishes to overhaul the obsolete site to transform it into a new international cultural and tourism attraction.
The tour program to Kumgangsan had been regarded as a major inter-Korean cooperation project, with the accumulated number of South Korean tourists standing at nearly 2 million since its launch in 1998.
Operations of the facilities, including hotels and a golf course, were suspended in 2008, when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier, purportedly for entering a military zone. Tour programs have not resumed since.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org