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Bus tours to N. Korea to start this year

Posted August. 11, 2000 14:09,   


It is expected that tourist bus services between Seoul and Kaesong via Panmunjom will be available this year, so South Korea could enjoy sightseeing tours of such famous places as Manwoldae, Sunjook Bridge and Bakyon Falls.

Also, it is confirmed that the projected industrial estate on the west will be located in Kaesong and surveying work will begin Aug. 20.

Hyundai Group made the announcements after Hyundai Asan chairman Chung Mong-Hun`s recent trip to North Korea. Chung met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in Wonsan on Aug. 9 for about four hours and agreed to Kaesong as the site for the west coast industrial estate, and they designated the Mount Keumkang area and industrial estate on the east coast as a special Economic district.

Initially, Hyundai plans to organize coach tours to Kaesong and also will offer travel by train once the Kyungeu Line that links Seoul with Shineuiju is completed, according to Hyundai officials.

The site survey team, including officials of the Korea Land Development Co., will visit the Kaesong area for a survey and begin measuring work Aug. 20, which will be followed by construction work.

As the first step of the development project, Hyundai will build a model complex on a site of about 1 million pyong for small and medium-sized enterprises. As for the special district, Hyundai has agreed with North Korean authorities to change the Mount Keumkang tour route, which currently has to sail through 12 miles of high seas, with a five-mile direct coastal route. The change will mean it will take only four hours to reach Mount Keumkang from a South Korean port. The trip currently takes more than 11 hours.

In addition, the Mount Kumkang tour program will be open to Korean residents abroad and foreigners. And comprehensive convenience facilities will be built at Jangjun Port on a site of nearly 40,000 pyong. Tourists will be able to stay at hotels near the mountain or coastal hotels as they do now, and enjoy golf.

Hyundai and North Korean authorities also agreed to offer communications service, including local and long-distance call services.

A company official said that Hyundai would pursue the North Korean cooperation projects as joint business projects by attracting government organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises and venture firm to the maximum degree.

"We will carry forward only economically viable businesses and will attract foreign investment," he said.