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[Editorial] Deception By Government

Posted June. 28, 2001 11:06,   


The government finally stepped forward to the support of the Mt. Keumgang Tour project. The government decided to support the Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO) with the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund on July 27 and will confirm the detail amount and conditions for the aids. The hurried steps of the government are due to the promise with the North to pay for the delayed tour premium of 22 million dollars for Hyundai Asan to the North in June.

By the participation of KNTO, which is a state invested organization, and the support of the Inter-Korea Cooperation Fund, the Mt. Keumgang Tour project virtually becomes `a government project,` for which the people`s tax will be spent. The situation is that the government pays for the debt of a private corporation Hyundai Asan. It is still questionable whether the Mt. Keumgang project, which the government has committed by giving up the principle of the separation of the political and economic matters, will be profitable as the government has propagandized. According to the information released by Rep. Kim Il-Yoon of the Grand National Party, it cannot be so.

Based on the analysis of the `Plan for the Mt. Keumgang Tour project,` which was presented by KNTO and Hyundai Asan to the Ministry of Unification, Rep. Kim emphasized that ``Hyundai Asan and KNTO have already invested 130.3 billion won and 138.8 billion won respectively for the Mt. Keumgang project. Compared with the total investment 269.1 billion won, the expected profit will be only 2.3 percent and 3.0 percent of the investment, that are, 6.1 billion in 2003 and 8.2 billion in 2004 respectively, which is lower than the half of the current loan interest. In brief, the government is operating in the red.

In other words, KNTO decided to participate in the Mt. Keumgang Tour project without a thorough investigation on the business and the government is pouring out the people`s tax for the hopeless business. The government has broken its promise for the separation of the political matters from the economic matters and had set up a bad example of throwing waters on thirsty soil.

Furthermore, the procedure to decide whether to support the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund seems not transparent. For example, Hyundai announced that the company agreed with the North on the overland tour and the alteration of the payment method but has never opened the document to the public. Therefore, it seems like that the discussions for a consortium and bank loan have been made based on the groundless words of Hyundai. When it seems to be not working, the government has utilized the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund. The procedure has to be transparent. If the implement of the Inter-Korean policies were not transparent, it would be taken for granted that the Mt. Keumgang Tour project is not supported by the people.