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N. Korea willing to hold talks with S. Korea over mountain resort: report

North Korea has expressed its willingness to hold talks with South Korea to resolve a dispute over assets at a scenic mountain resort in the North, a pro-North Korean newspaper said.

Kim Kwang-yun, director of the North's Mount Kumgang International Tourism Leadership Bureau, said the talks could be held anytime if the South Korean authorities show an active desire to break the deadlock, the Choson Sinbo reported Friday.

Kim made the comment to foreign journalists who visited Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast in a trial run of a cruise from its northeastern port city of Rajin, according to the newspaper published in Japan.

His comment came as the North expelled South Korean workers from the mountain resort and legally disposed of all South Korean assets there in anger over the suspension of the inter-Korean joint tour program.

South Korea halted the tour program at the resort, a key symbol of reconciliation on the divided Korean Peninsula, following the 2008 shooting death of a tourist by a North Korean soldier near the resort.

South Korea has begun to ask foreign countries not to invest or engage in tourism activities at the mountain resort as part of its moves to protect its property rights at the resort. (Yonhap News)

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