April 13, 2010 11:02
The head of the Hyundai Group has pleaded for package tours to North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort to be resumed, despite North Korea's threats to scrap the project after the South halted tours in the wake of the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist there.
"The Mt. Kumgang tourism project is a venture of reconciliation between the South and the North and must be continued," Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun told staff at an event Monday. "If there is progress between the two governments, I'm confident that the blocked road will open and a gateway of greater hope will be unlocked."
Hyun said Hyundai laying the foundation for reunification through inter-Korean projects is a "historical mission" for her company, whose subsidiary Hyundai Asan has operated the tours since 1998.
The Hyundai Group has invested some W1.5 trillion (US$1=W1,114) in the tour project including facilities in the North. If the project is completely scrapped, Hyundai stands to lose the entire investment.
Since the tours were suspended in July 2008, Hyundai suffered an estimated sales loss of W265 billion by the end of March, and curtailed the number of staff from 1,084 to 384.
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