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`Seoul to discuss Mt. Kumgang tour if Pyongyang makes specific offer’

`Seoul to discuss Mt. Kumgang tour if Pyongyang makes specific offer’

Posted January. 11, 2014 03:28,   


The Unification Ministry of South Korea announced its stance on Friday that if North Korea accepts an event for reunions of separated families and suggests specific timelines for talks to resume South Koreans’ tour to the North’s Mount Kumgang, it could hold inter-Korean meetings to discuss the tour’s resumption.

Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ui-do made the remarks at a regular press briefing on the day, saying, “Talks over the resumption of Mount Kumgang tour were scheduled last year but postponed.” As the North’s memorandum dated Thursday, which Pyongyang rejected the South Korean government’s offer to to hold family reunions, included some messages to that effect, he means the South could also resume talks over Mount Kumgang tours, if the two Koreas hold discussion over timelines for talks over the tour to the scenic mountain, and if the North makes a specific offer. In its memorandum, the North said, “If (South Korea) has intent to hold talks over our offer, we will be able to come back to the negotiating table in a good season.” South Korean government deems “our offer” as the North’s suggestion to resume tours to Mount Kumgang.

“There is no change to our stance that since Mount Kumgang tours are a different matter from the reunions of dispersed families, we will seek to push for the matter separately,” Kim reemphasized on Friday. “In order (for South Korea) to resume Mount Kumgang tours, the truth surrounding the 2008 killing of a South Korean tourist on Mount Kumgang should be identified, and the issue over guarantee of South Koreans’ safety should also be resolved.” Another government source said, “The (South) Korean government has never said it would not hold inter-Korean talks on Mount Kumgang tours.”

However, the ministry’s stance expressed on Friday apparently reflects a slight change in its stance: if the North accepts reunions of separated families that the South wants, Seoul could accept talks over resumption of Mount Kumgang tours. The move is seen as the ministry’s commitment to pave the way to improve inter-Korean relations.