Pyongyang freezes South Korean real estate in Kumgangsan tourist region

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PYONGYANG – Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has passed a decision to freeze South Korean real estate in the Kumgangsan tourist region, the Korean Central News Agency /KCNA/ said Thursday quoting a representative of the department for development of tourist areas.

He recalled that North Korea on March 4 made public its intention to resume tourist trips to the Kaeson and Kumgangsan areas for South Korean citizens as of March 1 and April respectively. Along with this, the authorities made a pledge to provide the tourists with all the necessary conveniences and to guarantee their security.

However, the South Korean government took to the road of confrontation and started obstructing the tours that had become symbols of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, the KCNA claimed.

As a result of a protracted delay with the sales of tours the North Korean side suffered huge financial losses that would not have been covered even by a confiscation of North Korean real estate in the Kumgangsan tourist region, the agency said.

The list of assets frozen by Pyongyang includes the center of meetings of Korean families split by the war of 1950 to 1953, a cultural center, a South Korean office for duty-free trade, and some other facilities. Their workers will be expelled from North Korea.

In addition, the government has denied the right of a number of South Korean companies, including Hyundai Securities, to send their representatives to Kumgangsan.

The authorities warn that it may revise a bilateral agreement on the joint kindustrial zone in the city of Kaeson if the South Koreans continue fanning tensions, the KCNA said.

Pyongang has no intention to be an idle voyeur at a time when the marionette conservative forces in South Korea have unleashed a dirty propaganda campaign against this country, the statement said.