North Korea Mount Kumgang tourism must resume, activists in South say

Nov. 18 (UPI) — South Korean activists called for the resumption of tourism to Mount Kumgang on Monday, urging their government to permit travel to North Korea “without conditions.”

Activists of the Citizens’ Movement for the Resumption of Tourism to Mount Kumgang said the resumption should take place “immediately” along with a return to regular operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a jointly operated factory park in the North, Seoul Pyongyang News reported.

On Monday the group adopted a resolution in favor of tourism to North Korea.

“We hope North Korea will open the door to dialogue in response to a [South Korean] government declaration to resume inter-Korea cooperation projects without conditions,” the group said. “The spirit of implementing the [Pyongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018], with mutual respect is more urgent than ever.”

The group also said the United States and the United Nations should not include Kaesong and Mount Kumgang in the framework of North Korea sanctions.

The inter-Korea projects pursue peace and reconciliation on the peninsula, the South Korean activists said.

The group is calling for tourism to resume at a time when North Korea has rejected South Korean offers of talks. In October, Kim Jong Un called for the removal of “unpleasant-looking” South Korean facilities from the resort.

Monday also marked the 21st anniversary of the start of Mount Kumgang tourism, which began after Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung visited the North while herding 500 head of cattle across the heavily militarized border in June 1998.

That same year, on Nov. 18, 1998, the first South Korean tourists visited the resort in the North. Travel stopped after 2008, when a South Korean woman was fatally shot by North Korean guards.

News 1 reported Monday South Korea seeks talks as well as solutions. Seoul wants Pyongyang to protect property rights in order for further cooperation to take place, according to the report.

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