N. Korea to Reopen Border With South
Tourism and reunions with relatives in SK now possible
By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2009 1:44 AM CDT
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il poses with Hyun Jung-eun, left, the head of South Korea's Hyundai Group yesterday in North Korea.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
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(Newser) – North Korea pledged today to reopen its borders with the south for tourism and family visits after reclusive leader Kim Jong-il met with the head of the South Korean Hyundai Group in Pyongyang, reports Reuters. Hyundai's Hyon Jong Un met the ailing Kim to secure the release of a detained worker—similar to Bill Clinton's recent visit to free two jailed American journalists.

Families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War may be rejoicing, but the last Cold War hot spot has some obvious hurdles to mount before it will attract many other tourists. Immediately following the border opening announcement, Pyongyang warned of a "merciless and prompt annihilating strike" if its sovereignty is threatened. Last time tourists visited scenic Mt. Kumgang, one was shot dead after wandering into a military area.