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Seoul to ask foreign countries this week not to invest in Mt. Kumgang

 South Korea will formally ask foreign countries this week not to invest or engage in tourism activities at North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort, officials said Monday.

Earlier, Seoul said it will use all diplomatic channels to prevent foreign companies from controlling operations at the resort, which was built and funded by South Korean companies and governmental agencies.

The planned measures mark the first time that the South has outlined diplomatic and legal measures to prevent the North from unilaterally and unlawfully taking over the facilities built at the resort.

(Yonhap News)
(Yonhap News)

"This week, the government will formally ask foreign countries for cooperation," an official said.

South Korea's Hyundai Asan, the main corporate investor in the resort project, had been guaranteed exclusive operating rights by Pyongyang. The state-run Korea Tourism Organization also invested in the resort.

Hyundai Asan reportedly invested US$196 million in building hotels, a restaurant and other facilities at the resort since 1998 when the North opened it for South Korean tourists.

Seoul suspended the joint tour program following the 2008 shooting death of a tourist by a North Korean soldier at the resort. It demanded Pyongyang make a formal apology for the incident and requested improved safety measures for tourists to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

The North, however, rejected such demands and recently expelled South Korean workers from the resort. It vowed to legally dispose of all assets after it unsuccessfully tried to pressure Seoul to resume the tour program, which was once seen as a key symbol of reconciliation on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The official said Seoul is considering taking further action in response to any moves that may be taken by North Korea on the Mount Kumgang resort issue.

Government sources said that the latest move may pave the way for Hyundai Asan to take the issue to an international mediator or court so the company can show the damage inflicted by the North's actions.

The latest measure also comes after the head of a North Korean company responsible for attracting foreign capital proposed holding a meeting with Hyundai Asan to resolve the row over the assets at the scenic mountain resort.

Park Chol-su, head of Daepung International Investment Group, said last week in Beijing that he wants to meet with Hyundai Asan representatives to discuss outstanding issues. (Yonhap News)

<한글 기사>

정부, 금주 '금강산 재산권' 외교조치

정부는 금강산지구 내 남측 재산에 대한 북한의 법적 처분과 관련해 이번 주 중에 관련국에 관광 및 투자자제 요청을 할 것으로 전해졌다.

정부 당국자는 12일 "금강산 재산권 보호를 위해 이번 주 중으로 재외공관을 통 해 외교적 협조를 요청할 예정인 것으로 안다"고 말했다.

정부는 이를 위해 주초에 재외공관에 관련 지침을 보낼 예정인 것으로 알려졌다 .

외교적 조치의 대상은 금강산지구에 관광하거나 투자할 개연성이 있는 중국을 비롯해 미국, 일본 등이 될 것으로 관측된다.

정부는 지난 6일 통일부, 외교통상부, 기획재정부, 법무부, 문화체육관광부 등 으로 구성된 '금강산관광사업대책반' 회의를 열어 북측의 일방적 조치에 대한  외교 적 조처를 하기로 결정했었다.

외교 채널을 통해 북측 조치의 부당성을 알리고, 이를 통해 북측의 일방적 재산 권 침해를 막겠다는 것이다.

북측은 지난달 22일 법적 처분을 단행한다고 밝히는 한편, 금강산 현지에  체류 하던 남측 관계자들을 전원 추방했다. 또 최근에는 해외 취재진 등을 불러 금강산 시범관광에 나서는 등 일방적인 조치를 계속하고 있다.

정부는 북측이 상황을 추가로 악화시키면 국제기구에 현대아산 등을 통한 제소 나 중재 신청을 하는 방안도 검토하고 있다. (연합뉴스)

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