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Mt. Geumgang Tour Temporarily Suspended

Posted August. 05, 2003 21:39,   


North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (APPC) announced yesterday that all Mt. Geumgang tours would be temporarily suspended due to the death of Chung Mong-hun, the chairman of Hyundai Asan.

“We express our heart-felt condolence on the death of Chairman Chung”, said the committee in the statement, adding, “Mt. Geumgang tours will be suspended temporarily in memory of the chairman.”

Social associations of the North, including the Mt. Geumgang International Tour Agency, which falls under the APPC, sent a telegram of condolence yesterday to the bereaved family of the chairman as well as Hyundai Asan President Kim Yoon-kyu. In the message, the agency went on to add that burial of relics pertaining to the late-chairman at Mt. Geumgang were welcome as was the building of a cenotaph in his memory. The North also announced its plan, through Hyundai Asan, to hold a large-scale memorial service at Mt. Geumgang instead of dispatching delegates to the South for Chung’s funeral. The North is also said to be planning visits to the memorial altars Hyundai set up in Pyongyang and at Mt. Geumgang to offer condolences.

At yesterday’s press conference, Hyundai Asan said, “After Chung`s funeral on August 8, his bereaved family members, relatives, and a group of journalists will visit Mt. Geumgang on August 10 via land routes on the east coast.”

Deputy Prime Minister Kim Jin-pyo announced yesterday the prospect that the death of Hyundai Asan Chairman Chung could possibly encourage the North to ask the South Korean government for guarantees on the development projects in the North, such as the Mt. Geumgang tour and construction of the Gaesung Industrial Complex.

“Inter-Korean economic cooperative projects have been implemented more by the North`s internal necessity, including enhancing inter-Korean cooperation and economic benefits,” said Deputy Prime Minister Kim. He also noted, “Inter-Korean projects can change slightly and it is likely for the North to demand strong confirmation on the projects from the South Korean government.”

Seung-Ryun Kim Na-Yeon Lee srkim@donga.com larosa@donga.com