Koreas Fail to Settle Resort Dispute, Deadline Extended

Posted July 13th, 2011 at 8:45 am (UTC-5)
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North and South Korea failed to agree on the fate of $300 million in seized South Korean assets at a shuttered mountain resort in the North.

A South Korean team, including Unification Ministry officials, journeyed to the Kumgang mountain resort Wednesday to try to stop Pyongyang from following through on threats to seize the resort operator's assets. No deal was announced, and the meeting ended with North Korean envoys extending a deadline for resolving the dispute to July 29.

Wednesday's meeting marks the second time in the past month that talks on the South Korean assets — which include hotels, restaurants and a golf course — have ended without a resolution.

South Korea's Hyundai Asan and other companies poured millions of dollars into the resort in the last decade, at a time when Seoul was seeking to foster improved relations with the North. But South Korea barred its citizens from visiting the resort after a tourist was shot dead by a North Korean guard in 2008. Seoul refused to resume tours without safety guarantees from the North.

North Korea responded by sealing off several properties last year and is now seeking other investors to take over operations at the resort.