North Korea rejects working-level talks on Mount Kumgang

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea rejected the South's proposal for working-level talks on Tuesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
North Korea rejected the South's proposal for working-level talks on Tuesday. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 29 (UPI) -- North Korea rejected the South's proposals for talks regarding Mount Kumgang on Tuesday, less than a week after Kim Jong Un called for the removal of the South's "unpleasant-looking facilities" from the North Korean resort.

Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday that Pyongyang sent a letter of reply Tuesday morning, Newsis reported.


"Regarding the demolition of facilities and schedules, the North said it would be unnecessary to hold separate working-level meetings, proposed [by the South]," the ministry said. "They insisted a document exchange [would be sufficient] to reach an agreement."

Last Friday, North Korea said in a letter to the South that it plans to build a "new international tourism zone" at Mount Kumgang. Pyongyang had also said that upon an agreed date the South should dismantle their facilities in the North.

Mount Kumgang has become a symbol of inter-Korea cooperation in the past two decades. Inter-Korea family reunions involving North and South Koreans took place at the resort, including the family of President Moon Jae-in, whose family fled the North during the 1950-53 Korean War.


Moon's mother, Kang Han-ok, was one of the South Korean citizens who were briefly reunited with family in the North during a reunion in July 2004. Kang died Tuesday, Yonhap reported.

Kang, 92, died before being able to reunite with her sister one more time. She was born in Hamju, South Hamkyong Province, and was evacuated on the SS Meredith Victory during the Korean War.

North Korea has shown no signs of interest in resuming family reunions.

The regime has instead blamed the United States for its "hostile policy."

Pyongyang's state-controlled new agency KCNA reported Tuesday North Korean politician Choe Ryong Hae said the Korean Peninsula is at a "critical crossroads," during the 18th Non-Alliance Movement meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Choe said the United States should guarantee North Korea regime security if it seeks progress in denuclearization, according to KCNA.

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