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People's Daily Online

S.Koreans' individual tour to DPRK not subject to UN sanctions: S.Korea

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:28, January 20, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- South Koreans' individual tour to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would not be subject to the UN sanctions against Pyongyang, Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, citing the unification ministry of South Korea.

The ministry disclosed a reference material on individuals' tour, saying South Koreans' individual tour to the DPRK would not be subject to the UN sanctions, but a project that can be pushed forward by the country independently.

The individuals' tour would not be subject to a secondary boycott either, the ministry noted.

The material came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in his New Year address that his government will enhance inter-Korean cooperation through various projects this year.

The unification ministry expressed its position that individuals' tour to the DPRK would not violate the UN sanctions as seen in many other foreign tourists visiting the DPRK.

The ministry noted that personal belongings, which tourists can carry while on trip to the DPRK, are not subject to the UN sanctions, saying it would draw up guidelines on how to carry personal belongings, such as mobile phones, laptops and cameras, in the DPRK.

Regarding the cost tourists can pay in the DPRK, the ministry said it cannot be seen as the payment of "bulk cash" given that travelers to the DPRK pay the cost for lodging and food individually.

Tour by South Koreans to the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, had been run for about 10 years before being shut down in 2008 when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a DPRK soldier after allegedly venturing into off-limit areas.

South Koreans' tour to Mount Kumgang itself is not subject to UN Security Council resolutions, but the travel cost paid to the DPRK side in "bulk cash" could be subject to international sanctions.

The ministry said the South Korean government planned to actually improve inter-Korean ties through individuals' tour to the DPRK, adding that the United States had a basic position of respecting Seoul's decision as a sovereign state.

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