Pyongyang Sets Conditions for Inter-Korean Talks on Joint Resort

Posted July 26th, 2011 at 9:05 pm (UTC-5)
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North Korea has agreed to South Korea's proposal to discuss the closed joint tourist resort in North Korea on condition that Seoul brings private businessmen to the meeting.

South Korea has proposed a meeting for Friday for another round of talks on the future of the Mount Kumgang resort.

In its response Tuesday to Seoul's unification ministry, Pyongyang said it agreed to hold working-level talks if South Korea meets its condition of including private businessmen. But it threatened to confiscate South Korean assets in the resort if Seoul uses the meeting to hinder negotiations on asset settlement.

Mount Kumgang was shut down after a North Korean soldier killed a South Korean female tourist there in 2008 and South Korea suspended its tours to the resort, run by the South Korean company Hyundai Asan.

Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to dispose of the South Korean assets — which include hotels, restaurants and a golf course — if company officials did not visit the Mount Kumgang resort by July 13 to discuss how they should be handled. A 12-member delegation of company and government officials was unable to have any substantive talks when they visited the resort in June.

The complex has been a source of hard currency for cash-strapped North Korea. It was opened a decade earlier as a symbol of improved ties between the two Koreas.