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Negotiations on the Mt. Geumgang Tour Project Are Expected to Be Completed

Negotiations on the Mt. Geumgang Tour Project Are Expected to Be Completed

Posted June. 01, 2001 11:22,   


Unification Minister Lim Dong-Won said yesterday, ``North Korea and the Hyundai Group seem to be close to reaching an agreement on the Mt. Geumgang tour project. The negotiations are expected to be completed as early as next week.``

Lim said at the press conference, ``If Hyundai and North Korea reach a deal on these matters, the government will take follow-up measures. This will help to improve the South and North relationship.``

Lim’s remark implies that the government may finance the tour project from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund if the two sides reach an agreement on the revitalization of the Mt. Geumgang tour project.

Minister Lim also said that ``if they agree to open a land trip to Mt. Geumgang, the South and North Korean governments should hold talks to discuss details.``

The position of the government and Hyundai is that North Korea should be open to the following three demands: reduction in the monthly tourism fee Hyundai pays the North, the opening of a road access to Mt. Geumgang, and the designation of the special tour zone.

Meanwhile, with regard to his unofficial meetings with the U.S. and Japanese officials in Honolulu earlier this week, Minister Lim said that ``the government planned to discuss the restrictions on armaments (the 12 article of the South-North mutual agreement) at the second Inter-Korean Summit Talk. The government delivered the message to the U.S. that the issue on the reduction of conventional armaments should be dealt with between the two Koreas. However, the U.S. has not responded yet.`` Lim added that ``the agenda of the U.S. - North Korea negotiation will be likely to be about the missiles. If the U.S. raises the conventional armaments issue, North Korea may link it with the withdrawal of the U.S. troops from the South.``

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com