SKorea asks NKorea to delay talks on tour programs
SEOUL (AP) - South Korea yesterday proposed holding talks with North Korea on restarting joint tour programmes, an official said, amid mixed signals from both sides about whether relations between them are improving.
The South asked the North to hold talks in the North’s border city of Kaesong on February 8, rather than the North’s initial proposal for two days of talks beginning Tuesday, according to Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said.
The two sides need to consult with each other on how to ensure the safety of South Korean tourists before resuming tours to the North’s scenic Diamond Mountain resort, Chun said.
South Korea suspended tours to the resort in July 2008 after a South Korean female tourist was fatally shot after allegedly entering a restricted military area next to the resort. Earlier this month, the North proposed opening talks on restarting the lucrative tours.
North Korea ended a separate tour that brought South Koreans to historic sites to Kaesong in late 2008 amid rising tensions over the policies of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.