North Korea to expel South Koreans from border resort

Other News Materials 9 August 2008 13:15 (UTC +04:00)

North Korea said it will expel all "unnecessary" South Koreans from a mountain resort on the east coast of the communist country, the official North Korean news agency reported Saturday.

"The measure of expelling personnel of the South side unnecessary in the tourist area of Mount Kumgang shall take effect from August 10," the North's official KCNA news agency cited a military official as saying.

Inter-Korean tensions have escalated since last month when one of North Korea's soldiers shot dead a South Korean tourist at the Mount Geumgang resort, dpa reported.

Park Wang Ja, 53, was shot dead when she wandered into a military zone to watch the sun rise. North Korea has refused to apologize, angering Seoul which immediately suspended tours to the resort.

Operator Hyundai Asan has kept more than 160 staff members at the resort to maintain the hotels and golf course.

The resort, which has been open to South Korean tourists since 1998, is considered one of the most visible symbols of inter-Korean reconciliation efforts.

Pyongyang's statement was issued by a low-level military command in charge of the resort.

There is no change to the South Korean government's position, according to the Unification Ministry, which again called on Pyongyang to take steps towards resolving the incident.