North Korea has stated that it has no plans to review a request from the head of the Hyundai Group to visit the country in August.
South Korean media previously reported that Hyun Jeong-eun, chairwoman of Hyundai Group, had requested a meeting with the South’s unification ministry.
In the late 1990s, Hyundai Group began operating tours to Mount Kumgang in the southeast of North Korea in collaboration with North Korean counterparts.
On Saturday, North Korea’s state-run media reported that South Korean citizens are prohibited from entering its territory.
In response to the South’s media reports, the North stated that it has neither been informed nor aware of any South Korean official’s willingness to visit, and that it has no intention to investigate the matter.
“It is the policy of the DPRK government that no South Koreans are permitted to enter its territory,” North Korea said in a statement, adding that its policy is unchangeable and will continue in the future.
North-South Korea Relationship
Mount Kumgang’s sightseeing programs were suspended in 2008 after a South Korean tourist was fatally shot by North Korean forces.
The following year, Hyun traveled to the North and met then-leader Kim Jong Il.
She returned to the country in 2011 as a member of a private delegation to attend Kim Jong Il’s funeral. At the time, she met his successor, Kim Jong Un.
Since April, Pyongyang has effectively severed all communication channels with Seoul.
The most recent action is interpreted as a protest against the government of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, which has strengthened its alliance with the United States.
Thursday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol appointed a conservative scholar and outspoken critic of North Korea’s human rights record to handle relations with Pyongyang as South Korea’s unification minister.
The nomination is likely to strain relations between North and South Korea. North Korea has long viewed criticism of its human rights record as a plot to overthrow its government.