N Korea seizes S Korean assets at mountain resort

Last Updated: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 12:31

Seoul: North Korea announced on Friday it had seized South Korean-owned buildings at a mountain resort, accusing Seoul of heightening cross-border tensions over the sinking of a warship.

The action comes amid high cross-border tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship last month near a disputed sea border that left 46 sailors dead.

Pyongyang has denied it was responsible for the mystery blast, accusing Seoul of seeking to shift the blame in order to justify its hardline policy toward its neighbour.

"The situation has reached such extreme phase that it is at the crossroads of a war or peace, much less thinking of the resumption of the tour," a North Korean state agency in charge of tours said in a statement published by state media.

"It is quite natural that we can no longer show generosity and tolerance to the south side under this situation," it said.

North Korea accused Seoul of linking the blast to Pyongyang "deliberately" and described South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak as a "traitor".

"The puppet group went (to) the lengths of crying out for the total severance of the North-South relations and trumpeting about `not ruling out a war` while deliberately linking the sinking of its warship to the DPRK (North Korea)," it said.

North Korea last week expelled staff and sealed five buildings owned by the Seoul government at the resort in protest at Seoul`s refusal to restart cross-border tours.

It said on Friday it was seizing the five buildings while freezing "all the remaining real estates" at the resort and expelling all their management personnel.

The five properties are a fire station, a duty-free shop, a reunion centre for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, a cultural centre where North Korean troupes performed for tourists and a spa.

"The confiscated real estates will be put into the possession of the DPRK or handed over to new businessmen according to legal procedures," it said.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, April 23, 2010 - 12:31

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