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S. Korea Reportedly Looking to Allow Individual Tours to N. Korea

News2020-01-17
S. Korea Reportedly Looking to Allow Individual Tours to N. Korea

The government is reportedly considering the possibility of permitting South Koreans to visit the North through a third country, such as China.

Government officials made the revelation on Friday amid stated efforts by Seoul to initiate inter-Korean cooperation projects not bound by international sanctions.

The officials said South Korean nationals could travel to the North through a third country so long as North Korea has granted them a visa.

Though travel to North Korea is not permitted for most South Koreans, exceptions have been made for cultural exchanges or humanitarian aid.

In such cases, South Koreans traveling to the North through China are required to have both an invitation from and a visa issued by North Korean authorities. 

The individual tours, if permitted, would likely start with small-scale visits to hometowns in the North for members of families separated by the Korean War.

During his New Year's press conference, President Moon Jae-in expressed a desire to implement inter-Korean projects, including tours to the North, as a way to facilitate denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Presidential Chief of Staff Noh Young-min said in a radio interview on Thursday that neither the suspended tours to the North's Mount Geumgang nor individual visits to the North violate United Nations sanctions against the regime.

[Photo : YONHAP News]

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