A group of South Korean forestry experts were set to visit Mount Geumgangsan Wednesday for a three-day itinerary, following Pyongyang’s request for a joint probe into “abnormal symptoms” that pine trees in the mountain have recently exhibited, Seoul officials said Tuesday.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said it recently approved the visit by eight officials from the state-run Korea Forest Research Institute and the Korea Tree Health Association as well as Hyundai Asan, formerly the main operator of the resort program in the scenic mountain on the North’s east coast.
The ministry said the North first proposed the joint investigation and pest control on July 15 to Hyundai Asan, as it had discovered abnormalities in the conditions of the pine trees.
The experts will conduct the investigation in Naegeumgang, the inner, western part of the mountain, for a day, and then in Oegeumgang, the outer, eastern part of it, for another day, Seoul officials explained.
Seoul plans to offer full support to cure the pine trees in the mountain after the symptoms are verified.
“The areas of Mount Geumgangsan are our heritage that we should preserve together. That is why we are now talking about inter-Korean forestry cooperation,” said a Seoul official, declining to be named.
“Upon the outcome of the investigation, we will see what kind of support we can offer.”
By Song Sang-ho(firstname.lastname@example.org