The government is seeking to help alleviate the plight of companies that invested in the Mount Kumgang tours, South Korea's unification minister said Wednesday.
In a meeting with representatives from the Mount Kumgang Entrepreneurs Association, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said Seoul will actively consider policy measures to help local businesses that were forced out of the resort for more than five years.
The policymaker also expressed understanding for the hardships facing companies and said efforts will be made to reach a swift decision on extending support to businesses.
South Korea suspended all operations at the scenic resort on North Korea's southeastern coast after a North Korean guard shot and killed a female tourist in July 2008.
Related to the talks with the minister, which marks the first time in five years, the association's chairman Choi Yo-shik asked if Seoul had plans to initiate talks with the North to resolve the impasse. He, moreover, asked the government to focus on support to help financially hard-pressed companies.
"The talks were meaningful and we hope that other discussions can take place," Choi said.
The association had claimed in the past that losses accumulated by some 40 member businesses totaled 190 billion won (US$180 million).