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South Korea group calls for talks on Mount Kumgang, Kaesong

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea group calls for talks on Mount Kumgang, Kaesong
South Korean activists are calling for talks on resuming tourism to Mount Kumgang, North Korea. Last week Kim Jong Un called for the removal of South Korea's "unpleasant-looking facilities" at the resort. File Photo by Jeon Heon-kyun/EPA-EFE

Oct. 28 (UPI) -- A South Korean civic group is calling for the reopening of the Mount Kumgang resort in the North following comments from Kim Jong Un last week regarding South Korea's "unpleasant-looking facilities" at the tourist complex.

The Pan-National Movement for the Resumption of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and Geumgangsan Tourism said Monday Seoul must "immediately begin inter-Korea negotiations to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex and resume tourism to Mount Kumgang," Newsis reported.

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The group also said Seoul's policies have been "tied up" in sanctions against North Korea, which, they say, have deterred fuller engagement between the two sides, according to the report.

South Korea requested working-level talks on Monday, Seoul Economic Daily reported.

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Unification Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min said at a regular press briefing Seoul, and local corporation Hyundai Asan, delivered the notice to North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee on Monday, through the joint liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea.

South Korea has proposed discussing Mount Kumgang. The discussions would include the participation of South Korean tour operators, Lee said.

The administration of President Moon Jae-in has called for dialogue on a "new direction of development" for the Mount Kumgang zone. Moon has previously stressed the need for "creative solutions" on Mount Kumgang amid sanctions, according to the report.

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North Korea has criticized South Korea policy at a time when it is clashing with Japan on the issue of maritime accidents.

Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA said Monday the collision between a North Korean fishing boat and a Japanese vessel was the fault of the Japanese coast guard. Tokyo must compensate the North, the statement read.

According to Japanese authorities, on Oct. 7 a North Korean boat collided with a Japanese vessel, the Okuni, about 217 miles from the Noto Peninsula. The collision occurred as the coast guard warned the North Korean boat to leave Japan's Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ.

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KCNA described the incident as "highway robbery" on Monday.

Japan rescued more than a dozen North Koreans following the incident.

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