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`New operator of N.Korea tours requires US permission
AUGUST 06, 2011 02:21  
With Korea Pyongyang Trading USA in New York reportedly signing a deal with North Korea on tours to Mount Kumgang, South Korea said Friday that a U.S. company seeking involvement in the tour program will require Washington`s permission.

A government source in Seoul said, 밃ccording to U.S. Executive Order 13570 (effectuated on April 19), all products, services and technologies brought into the U.S. require permission from the U.S. government, adding, 밒f a company seeks to engage in the service business of Mount Kumgang tours with North Korea, it should win approval from the U.S. government."

Korea Pyongyang Trading USA is known to have not yet submitted an application to the U.S. government for business with the North.

Another South Korean government source said, 밅onsidering the scale and situation of the trading company that was reportedly chosen as the new operator of the Mount Kumgang tour program and under the conditions of U.S. sanctions against the North and the executive order, we cannot confidently say the Mount Kumgang tour project will be implemented.

These views by Seoul officials apparently reflect their internal judgment that they cannot accept Pyongyang`s unilateral revocation of Hyundai Asan뭩 exclusive right to the tours and appointment of a new operator.

The South Korean government understands that the North is taking steps to attract another foreign business other than the American company. Government officials in Seoul predicted, however, that the North is unlikely to find an operator due to U.S. sanctions against Pyongyang, limited demand for tours, and lack of infrastructure in the North.

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