The Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) is about to open the scenic Mount Kumgang to international tourists later this month, the official KCNA news agency said Sunday.
Preparations for international tours to the mountain are "making brisk headway" and many foreign tourists and companies have expressed willingness to participate, a spokesman for the Guidance Bureau of the Special Zone for International Tour of Mount Kumgang was quoted as saying.
Relevant authorities are making sincere efforts to ensure tourists have a pleasant time there, with convenient entry and departure procedures, transportation and accommodation, added the spokesman.
Tours to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, had been run by South Korea's Hyundai Asan Corp. before the project was halted in 2008 after an allegedly stray South Korean female tourist was shot dead by a DPRK soldier.
Seoul then suspended the program and conditioned its resumption on a proper investigation into the shooting and safety guarantees, while Pyongyang said it had done enough.
In 2010, the DPRK seized South Korean properties at the resort in response to what it saw as South Korea's reluctance to reopen the tours.
Citing the regulations of a new law, the KCNA said that the South Korean business "was deprived of the monopoly" over the tour of Mount Kumgang and that relevant South Korean properties are no longer controversial "as the work has already begun to dispose of them by law according to relevant procedures."