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Kim Jong-un orders removal of all S. Korean facilities at Mt. Geumgang tourist resort Updated: 2019-10-23 16:12:24 KST

A key symbol of past inter-Korean cooperation South Korean tours to North Korea's Geumgang Mountain is at risk.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered the removal of South Korean facilities at the tourist resort, criticizing those who had pushed ahead with the tours.
According to North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday, Kim looked around the facilities at the Mount Geumgang tourist area that South Korea built when the tours first began.
He strongly criticized the buildings and ordered the removal of all South Korean facilities there.

"Our most respected leader instructed the removal of all the South's unpleasant-looking facilities after consulting with the South Korean side and the construction of new modern facilities, built in our own way, that go well with the natural scenery of Mt. Geumgang."

Kim also criticized the "predecessors" who pushed ahead with the inter-Korean project, saying it was "wrong" to expect benefits by offering the area and depending on others.

The North Korean leader also stressed Geumgang Mountain is not an asset that's shared by the two Koreas and does not symbolize inter-Korean relations.
Kim's visit to the area also sparked attention as he was accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju.
It was Ri's first public appearance in 4 months since she was seen with Kim during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the North in June.
Seoul's unification ministry has said that it is in the process of figuring out the exact intention behind Kim's remarks over the Geumgang mountain resort and is willing to hold future discussions on the matter.

"The government will talk with the North if the North asks it to in terms of protecting South Korean citizens' property and keeping the spirit of inter-Korean agreements."

Unification minister Kim Yeon-chul added that there's still room for cooperation between the two Koreas and big opportunities could come before the end of the year.
Rival political parties were also quick to respond.
The ruling and opposition parties both expressed regret over the North Korean leader's remarks, with the ruling Democratic Party claiming that the two Koreas should find ways to foster cooperation through dialogue.
The main opposition Liberty Korea Party, together with centrist Bareunmirae Party strongly criticized the Moon Jae-in administration's inter-Korean policies, calling them one-sided and complacent.
The Party for Democracy and Peace and the Justice Party stressed that Pyeongyang should stop creating walls that block the path to peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.
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