SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Korea Bizwire) – North Korea has rejected Hyundai Asan Corp.’s request to hold a ceremony in the reclusive country later this month to mark the anniversary of the launch of a now-suspended inter-Korean tour program, industry source said Tuesday.
The company had received a green light from Seoul’s unification ministry to contact the North to seek approval for the celebration that would mark the 19th anniversary of the Mount Kumgang tour program, which falls on Nov. 18, according to the sources.
In July 2008, Seoul suspended the Kumgang tour project after a South Korean woman was killed by a North Korean soldier at the mountain resort. The program was launched in 1998 under a previous liberal government.
If Hyundai Asan had received approval to hold the event, it would have marked the first visit by South Koreans to the North under the Moon Jae-in administration.
Pyongyang also rejected the company’s previous request to hold a memorial service in the North to mark the anniversary of the death of its former chairman Chung Mong-hun.
The operator of the suspended tour program had held a memorial service for Chung in North Korea every year since his death in August 2003, but did not seek approval for the visit last year due to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.