Go to contents

Hyundai Asan receives answer from Pyongyang for N. Korea visit

Hyundai Asan receives answer from Pyongyang for N. Korea visit

Posted July. 25, 2017 07:25,   

Updated July. 25, 2017 07:51


It has been reported that North Korea, which has remained silent about South Korea’s proposals for dialogue, recently responded to a visit request from Hyundai Asan, saying it would “give an answer.” Experts say that Pyongyang is using “Talk with the private, and isolate the public office” strategy, a variation from the proverbial strategy of talking with the U.S. and isolating the South.

On Monday, an official of Hyundai Asan confirmed over a phone call interview with the Dong-A Ilbo that the company sent a plan to the North to hold the 14th memorial service for former Hyundai Asan Chairman Chung Mong-hun at Mt. Geumkang, and that the North replied. According to the source, Hyundai Asan conveyed its will to visit North Korea by making a phone call to the director of the Beijing office of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, a North Korea’s negotiation group with the South under the Unification Front Department of the ruling Workers’ Party. On last Friday, the South Korean company emailed a business plan to an address it received from the North, and when Hyundai reached the peace committee by telephone to check if it had received the message, the committee said the message was well received and that it would give an answer (about the plan).

It remains to be seen whether the North will accept the request or not, but it appears that Pyongyang is interested in Hyundai’s proposal, given that it has informed the company of an email address and promised an answer for the proposal. Hyundai Asan further explained that the official from the peace committee used to have contact with the company when it ran an office in Beijing six years earlier.

“Once the North sends a letter of consent guaranteeing safety, we will file a visit request with the Ministry of Unification,” said the official from Hyundai Asan. “Considering the time for preparations, we hope that the North will provide the permit within this week.” An official from the Ministry of Unification showed a positive response, saying, “The importance of continuing communications with the North, be it through the private or the public sector.”

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com