(LEAD) Tours to Panmunjom to partially resume after 4-month hiatus

Date: 2023-11-21T11:12:27+09:00

Location: en.yna.co.kr

(ATTN: ADDS details in last two paras)

SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- A tour program to the truce village of Panmunjom on the inter-Korean border will partially resume this week, the unification ministry said Tuesday.

The move came a day after Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho met with Gen. Paul LaCamera, chief of the United Nations Command (UNC), to discuss how to boost cooperation with the command, an enforcer of the Armistice Agreement that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

The tour program for civilian visitors had been suspended since mid-July, after U.S. Army private Travis King crossed the border into the North during a tour to the Joint Security Area in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.

The ministry, which runs the tour for South Korean nationals, said a group of 20 visitors -- including policy advisers and defectors from North Korea -- will join a special tour of the truce village organized by the National Institute for Unification Education on Wednesday.

Special tours are typically organized by the government and differ from the general tours that ordinary visitors can sign up for online.

Before the suspension, the tour ran six times a day -- every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday -- with the government and the UNC each organizing three sessions daily.

"Until general tours resume, the government will run all three sessions as special tours for the time being," a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.