North Korea to designate Mt. Geumgang as international tourism zone


North Korea announced a plan Friday to designate the Mt. Geumgang tourist region as an international tourism zone to attract foreign investment.

This is a reversal of an exclusive agreement signed in 2002 under which South Korea’s Hyundai is the sole operator of Mt. Geumgang tours.

Under the 2002 contract, Hyundai was supposed to exclusively manage the 204.6 square-mile district for 50 years.

On Friday, North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly unveiled the plan through the state-controlled Central News Agency.

It announced a development program to create a tourist district in the region covering some parts of Goseong, Tongcheon and Geumgang counties.

Lee Jong-joo, a spokeswoman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry handling inter-Korean affairs, said the North’s move appears to be aimed at attracting foreign capital to develop the resort, according to Yonhap News Agency.

A spokesman for Hyundai Asan, the key South Korean tour operator in the mountain resort, said his company had no immediate comment, Yonhap reported.