PYONGYANG, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Saturday accused South Korean authorities of creating the present crisis over the tours of Mount Kumgang.
The DPRK General Guidance Bureau for the Development of Scenic Spots said in a detailed report that Seoul is "chiefly to blame for the derailed tours of Mt. Kumgang," according to the KCNA official news agency.
The bureau said South Korean authorities had made desperate efforts to block the tours that started in November 1998 after the DPRK accepted the request of the Hyundai Group.
After Seoul unilaterally declared the suspension of the tours in July 2008, the DPRK side has repeatedly proposed working contact for resuming the tours in October 2010 and January this year, it said.
However, South Korea refused to respond to the proposal and persistently barred Hyundai from even meeting with DPRK representatives, making it impossible to hold contact between the business parties for the tour, the bureau said..
Moreover, Seoul raised the nuclear issue and the cases of warship sinking and Yonphyong Island shelling as preconditions for the resumption of the tours, it said.
Thus the measure taken by the DPRK to launch international tours of Mt. Kumgang is an exercise of its legitimate sovereignty, the bureau stressed.
Mt. Kumgang tour programs were launched in 1998, but were suspended in 2008 after a female South Korean tourist was shot and killed there.