North Korea Desperate for Tourist Dollars

Pressures South to drop ban on trips to Mount Kumgang resort
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2010 5:00 AM CDT
A portrait of Kim Il Sung is on display at the entrance as South Korean passengers climb up the stairs in the Kumgangsan Youth railway station in North Korea.   (AP Photo/ Korea Pool)
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(Newser) – Things are going to get ugly unless South Korea allows its tourists to resume visiting scenic Mount Kumgang, North Korea warned yesterday. South Korea barred tours to the North Korean resort after border guards shot a woman dead on a beach in 2008. Pyongyang says it will take "extraordinary measures," including the seizing of South Korean assets, if the ban isn't lifted.

South Korea says it wants the killing to be properly investigated before it allows its citizens back to the resort, which was built with South Korean money. Analysts say the threats appear to stem from North Korea's increasing desperation for foreign currency as it struggles under sanctions. The resort was built as a symbol of inter-Korean co-operation, the BBC notes.

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