PART 1 - N. Korea pessimistic toward cooperating with Seoul on Mt. Geumgang: Expert
Updated: 2019-11-19 16:52:59 KST
South Korean tours to North Korea's famous Mount Geumgang marked their 21st anniversary yesterday.
But the fate of the tours hangs in the balance as Pyeongyang is demanding Seoul come and tear down its facilities at the tourist resort.
South Korea wants to first talk with North Korea but the regime continues to warn Seoul that it will demolish the facilities if the South does not.
For an in-depth look, we have our Unification Ministry correspondent Oh Jung-hee, joining us in the studio today.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered his officials to talk with South Korea and get Seoul's facilities removed.
Now, that comment caught the South Korean government by surprise because the two Koreas had agreed to resume the project last year.
Pundits say North Korea has waited long enough.
On January 1st, Kim Jong-un said that he is willing to resume South Korean tours to the mountain without any preconditions or costs, but since then, there's been no progress because of the sanctions on the North.
Here's what an expert had to say.
"Next year is the final year for the North's five-year economic development plan and the most effective way to see any substantial fruition is to boost tourism. Pyeongyang has been expecting Seoul to resume Mount Geumgang tours, but that didn't happen until now, and therefore the regime is very pessimistic about cooperating with Seoul."
The North aims to finish building the Wonsan-Kalma tourist area on its east coast by next April and Mount Geumgang is included in this zone.
Observers say that North Korea would, therefore, want to work on Mount Geumgang as well and put an end to 11 years of neglect.