S. Korea willing to discuss Mt. Geumgang tourism with N. KoreaUpdated: 2014-01-10 22:29:17 (KST)
Seoul's unification ministry says South Korea is willing to talk with the North about resuming tours to the Mount Geumgang resort.
"If North Korea makes a proposal that includes specific dates, I think the two Koreas can have a discussion on the halted Mount Geumgang tours."
Friday's remarks came one day after Pyongyang turned down Seoul's offer for talks on reunions for families separated by the Korean War.
The North questioned how the humanitarian event could be held right before annual South Korea-U.S. joint military drills set for February.
The reclusive state also said that before the two Koreas can discuss the reunions, they must address issues that have been raised by the North in the past.
That is assumed to include a resumption of tours to the Mount Geumgang resort.
Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do, however, reiterated that the Mount Geumgang tourism and family reunion issues should be dealt with separately.
He said the two issues are not linked, and that there is no change in Seoul's insistence that North Korea should first claim responsibility for shooting a South Korean tourist dead in 2008.
The spokesman also urged North Korea to show sincerity about Seoul's offer for talks, if it truly wants improved ties with the South.
"Resuming family reunions is the first step towards a new inter-Korean relationship."
Political watchers point out that although the upcoming South Korea-U.S. military exercises are likely to be a major hurdle in resuming inter-Korean dialogue, the two Koreas have not completely ruled out the possibility of future negotiations.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.
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