Koreas to celebrate 20th anniversary of suspended joint tour programme

Seoul: North Korea and South Korea will commemorate the 20th anniversary of their joint tour programme at Mount Kumgang, which was suspended earlier due to tensions between the two countries.

The event, which will be held for two days at the North Korean mountain resort starting from Sunday, is slated to be attended by about 100 South Koreans and 80 North Koreans respectively. The programme is co-organised by Hyundai Group, which operated the joint tour event and the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee of North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.

From the South Korean side, about 30 Hyundai officials, including the company’s chairperson Hyun Jeong-Eun are expected to participate in the celebrations. Around six incumbent lawmakers, former government officials, private experts, business executives and journalists are also slated to grace the event.

The joint tourism programme was suspended in 2008 by the South Korean government after its national was shot dead at Mount Kumgang. Hyun’s late father-in-law, Chung Ju-Yung, who was the founder of Hyundai, kickstarted the joint event on November 18, 1998.

The tour programme is a key symbol of reconciliation between North and South Korea, and expectations over its resumption were growing in the past few months, following a dramatic improvement of inter-Korean ties since this year.