South Korea gave the nod Thursday for a group of business people to visit the Mount Geumgangsan resort on North Korea’s east coast to hold a memorial service for late Hyundai Group chairman Chung Mong-hun.
The Ministry of Unification said it authorized the visit of Hyundai chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, Chung’s widow, and 38 other company executives who will cross over the demilitarized zone at 10:40 a.m. Sunday. The group will hold a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of Chung’s death and return over the demarcation line at around 4 p.m.
Chung’s ashes were scattered at the resort in accordance with his wishes.
“The visit has been made every year and is a private visit by family members and company officials,” said a ministry official, who declined to be identified.
|Hyun Jeong-eun. (Yonhap News)|
Hyundai and Hyundai Asan, the conglomerate’s North Korea business arm, had been at the forefront of inter-Korean business cooperation and played a leading role in the opening of the mountain resort and the Kaesong Industrial Complex, both of which have now been halted.
All visits to Mount Geumgangsan were suspended after the shooting death of a female tourist by a North Korean guard in the summer of 2008, while operations at Kaesong have been halted since early April after the North withdrew all of its 53,000 workers amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Chung, who aggressively sought for joint tourism and other business projects with North Korea, committed suicide in 2003 amid an investigation into suspicions that the government of then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung secretly sent a large amount of money to North Korea ahead of the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000.
Meanwhile, the source said that Seoul has no plans to send a message to the North via the Hyundai delegation, who will probably meet with North Korean officials. The North has already given permission for the visit. (Yonhap News)