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Government Commentary on the Special Statement by the Spokesman for the North Korean Army Unit in the Mt. Geumgang Area

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2008-08-04
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Government Commentary on the Special Statement by the Spokesman for the North Korean Army Unit in the Mt. Geumgang Area

Ministry of Unification

In the morning of August 3, the spokesman for the North Korean Army unit in charge of the Mt. Geumgang resort area issued a statement, announcing North Korea would take several measures including expulsion of unnecessary South Korean personnel staying in the Mt. Geumgang resort area.

The government of the Republic of Korea expresses regrets over the unreasonable action taken by the North while not cooperating in the fact-finding probe required to resolve the shooting case of a South Korean tourist happened on July 11.

By all accounts, the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist is wrong. The incident in which an innocent, middle-aged housewife was shot dead by a North Korean soldier in a resort area should not have happened under any circumstances. The shooting is wrong in the light not only of inter-Korean relations but also of international norms.

North Korea should promptly cooperate in the inspection into the shooting incident. The ROK government can not allow tourists to visit Mt. Geumgang unless the case is resolved and tourists security is guaranteed.

The ROK government is solid in the position that responsible authorities of South and North Korea should reveal the truth of the incident and devise necessary measures to guarantee the safety of South Korean tourists and prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy through adequate process and, by doing so, resolve the case happened in the resort area and normalize the Mt. Geumgang tour at an early date so as to advance inter-Korean relations.

We will wait with patience until the North shows sincerity in the inspection.

Furthermore, we emphasize that the North Korean authorities are to take necessary steps to guarantee personal safety for the South Korean tourists in Gaeseong.

So far, North Korea has promoted the idea of By our nation itself whenever possible, which, however, rarely matches its recent behaviors. In addition, Pyongyang has not responded to our demand for a joint march in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games, which should occur given precedents as well as its advocacy of the idea.

We will continue every effort to realize the joint march through the national delegation in Beijing till the opening of the Olympics.

We expect that North Korea promptly takes sincere actions on those pending issues.