February 8, 2018 / 8:09 AM / 8 months ago

South Korea says can discuss resuming tourism to the North when nuclear, other conditions met

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea’s unification ministry said on Thursday it would be open to discuss resuming tours to North Korea’s Mt Kumgang once the security of tourists was guaranteed and conditions relating to North Korea’s nuclear program are met.

FILE PHOTO - A North Korean guard post (C, bottom) is seen on the road leading to North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort, in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas in this picture taken from the Unification Observatory, just south of the DMZ in Goseong, about 330 km (205 miles) northeast of Seoul April 11, 2013. Picture taken April 11, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

“We see Mt Kumgang tours as a project which holds an importance for inter-Korean relations,” the ministry said in a written statement to Reuters.

South Korean tours to the Mt Kumgang resort were closed after a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean guard there in 2008.

The ministry also said now was not the time to discuss reopening the Kaesong Industrial Park, a joint factory complex closed by South Korea in 2016 in protest over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

Kaesong will be discussed “when the North Korean nuclear issue has to some extent entered a phase of a resolution”, the ministry said.

A delegation of North Korean officials including the younger sister of leader Kim Jong Un and the North’s nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, will visit South Korea for the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that begin formally on Friday.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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