The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has confirmed plans to expel South Korean partners from the famed Mountain Kumgang holiday resort.
One of the strongest symbols of cooperation between the neighbouring states, South Korea’s Hyundai Asan has operated the resort alongside DPRK officials for 12-years.
However, following a unilateral decision by the DPRK, Hyundai Asan personnel will be expelled from the region, while a tourism deal between the two states will be nullified.
DPRK officials also confirmed plans to confiscate South Korean assets at the Mount Kumgang location in an official news release to the KCNA agency on Thursday.
The Mountain Kumgang area will now be operated by the DPRK in partnership with a new “business enterprise”. However, details pertaining to the new partner were not forthcoming.
The DPRK also threatened to “entirely re-evaluate” its joint industrial park at Kaesong with South Korea if inter-Korean relations do not improve, KCNA and South Korea’s Yonhap agency said.
South Korea suspended activity at the park in 2008, following the shooting of a 53-year-old South Korean tourist by a DPRK solider.
According to North Korea’s General Guidance Bureau for the Development of Scenic Spots this decision was in “violation” of agreements, and has led to “enormous” financial losses at the site
“The confiscation of all real estate and facilities of the south side in the tourist zone would not be enough to compensate for them,” added a statement.
The latest action from a belligerent DPRK comes amid speculation North Korea may have been involved in the March 26th sinking of a South Korean navy ship in coastal waters.
The incident left 46 sailors dead or missing.
North Korea has also been seeking to alleviate the impact of tougher United Nations sanctions, imposed following a nuclear test in 2009.
In a statement Hyundai Asan said: “We urge both governments to engage in serious and productive dialogue.
“We hope the situation doesn’t worsen.”