Spokesperson’s Statement (April 23, 2010)
l On April 23, the spokesperson of North Korea’s Guidance Bureau for Comprehensive Development of Scenic Spots announced a statement that five buildings owned by the South Korean government and the Korea Tourism Organization would be seized by the North Korean government. They include a reunion center for separated families of the two Koreas, a fire station, a cultural hall, a spa and a duty-free shop. The statement said the buildings would be possessed by the North Korean Government or acquired by a new business partner after being seized. It added that Pyongyang would freeze the rest of the property in the Mt. Geumgang resort area and expel workers.
l As we have reiterated, the North Korea’s unilateral move of seizing and freezing South Korean property violates inter-Korean business contracts and agreements, and goes against international norms. The measure dampening inter-Korean relations is completely unacceptable.
l The Government has tried to establish systems to provide safety security to South Korean tourists before resuming tours to Mt. Geumgang and has made great efforts to enhance inter-Korean relations. The North Korea’s unilateral measure, however, has hampered these efforts. It is absolutely irresponsible and unreasonable.
l North Korea proves itself to be an inappropriate business partner by denying normal business contracts, agreements and property rights of South Korean companies operating in North Korea.
l In addition, the reunion center was built for humanitarian purposes in accordance with an agreement at an inter-Korean Red-Cross Talks. The facility aimed at promoting exchanges among separated families by the Korean War is not directly related to tours to Mt. Geumgang. In this regard, North Korea’s action to take away the center is entirely unacceptable.
l We want to make it clear that all responsibilities for worsening inter-Korean relations caused by the North Korea’s unilateral move fall into North Korea.
l The Government will strongly respond to the North Korea’s illegitimate measure damaging inter-Korean relations.
Ministry of Unification