SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Monday that the South Korea-built lodging facilities in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s Mount Kumgang resort were required to be repaired as the facilities were left unattended for long.
Kim told a discussion with a local journalists' association in Seoul that there were about 340 containers in the Mount Kumgang area, which were built by the South Korean side as temporary lodging facilities in the process of pushing for the Mount Kumgang tour program.
The minister said the containers were left unattended since the tour program was halted, noting that local businesses involved in the program acknowledged the need for an initial repair, according to local media reports.
The tour by South Koreans to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, has been suspended since a South Korean female tourist was shot dead in 2008 by a DPRK soldier after allegedly venturing into off-limit areas.
Top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un said in October that he would welcome the South Korean compatriots at any time if they want to come to Mount Kumgang, ordering the removal of South Korea-built "shabby" facilities in the resort in an agreement with the relevant unit of South Korea.
Seoul proposed to hold face-to-face working-level talks with Pyongyang to discuss the mountain resort issue, but the DPRK preferred the exchange of letters, rather than sitting down on a dialogue table.
The unification minister said there were still differences between the two Koreas over the mountain resort issues.
He noted that what South Korea proposed to the DPRK was not concrete, adding that the two sides can make various discussions.