Officials Eye Details of N. Korea Resort

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FORT LEE, N.J. -- Tourists soon will be visiting North Korea if a joint development between Hyundai Business Group founder Chung Ju-yung and the insular communist government comes to fruition.

After returning from an eight-day visit to North Korea, Chung announced the deal to develop North Korea's Mount Kumgang area into a tourist resort, accessible by ferry from the South Korean port city of Sokchu, located in the northeast corner of the country. The service could begin Sept. 25, according to the Korea National Tourism Organization, based here.

The deal is contingent on the South Korean government's securing official guarantees from North Korea for the safe passage of international tourists. "The question is, will North Korea guarantee the safety of travelers?" said David Kim, a spokesperson for the KNTO, "but that is difficult given the circumstances."

The development, which would team Hyundai Business Group with the North Korean government, is planned to consist of hotels, department stores, a golf course and other leisure facilities and, if approved, could draw close to 1,000 travelers each day.

Although the destination would predominantly draw Korean tourists, Kim said it was his understanding that U.S. tourists also will be permitted to go.

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