Seoul proposes meeting with Pyongyang on dormant North Korean tour project

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, visits the Diamond Mountain resort in Kumgang, North Korea. (KCNA/Korea News Service via AP)
Updated 29 October 2019

Seoul proposes meeting with Pyongyang on dormant North Korean tour project

  • Kim Jong Un last week ordered the destruction of Seoul-built facilities in North Korea’s Diamond Mountain resort
  • The inter-Korean tourism project began in 1998 and was a rare source of foreign currency for the impoverished North

SEOUL, South Korea: South Korea on Monday proposed a face-to-face meeting with North Korea over the fate of a long-shuttered joint tourist project at a scenic North Korean mountain.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week ordered the destruction of South Korean-built facilities at the North’s Diamond Mountain resort, saying they look “shabby” and “unpleasant-looking.” North Korea later proposed an exchange of documents to work out details.
The inter-Korean tourism project began in 1998 and was a rare source of foreign currency for the impoverished North, but it was halted in 2008 when a North Korean soldier fatally shot a South Korean tourist there.
Pyongyang has called for the project’s restart since it entered nuclear diplomacy with Washington and Seoul last year. But Seoul cannot revive tours to the mountain and other massive stalled inter-Korean economic projects while international sanctions remain in place over the North’s nuclear program.
On Monday, South Korea sent a message proposing officials from the two Koreas meet to discuss issues on the tourist project including the North’s push to tear down South Korean-constructed facilities there, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry. Spokesman Lee Sang-min said South Korea hasn’t yet proposed a specific date and location for that meeting.
Lee said South Korea has determined there should be “some sort of meeting” between the two Koreas to discuss the issue.
The South Korean-made facilities include hotels, restaurants, spas and a golf course.
North Korea didn’t immediately respond to South Korea’s proposals.


New board of directors for Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya Investment Co.

Updated 14 December 2019

New board of directors for Saudi Arabia's Qiddiya Investment Co.

  • The PIF launched the Qiddiya project as an entertainment, sports and arts destination with more than 300 facilities

RIYADH: The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has approved a new board of directors for Qiddiya Investment Co. (QIC).

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will head the new board. 

It consists of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Prince Turki bin Hathloul bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, Ahmed bin Aqeel Al-Khatib, Eng. Ibrahim bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, Fahd bin Abdulmohsen Al-Rasheed, Eng. Faisal Bafarat, and Dr. Rakan Al-Harthy.

The PIF launched the Qiddiya project as an entertainment, sports and arts destination with more than 300 facilities particularly aimed at Saudi youth. 

It will occupy an area of 334 square kilometers west of Riyadh. 

The PIF hopes it will contribute to diversifying the Saudi economy, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

In 2017, the PIF announced its 2018-2020 program —  one of 12 programs designed to help achieve Saudi Vision 2030 —  outlining its plans to contribute to the diversification of the economy and transform the Kingdom into a hub for international investment by next year. 

The goal was to raise the value of its managed assets to over $400 billion by 2020.

The PIF is the Kingdom’s main investment arm, and its goal is to become one of the largest and most influential sovereign wealth funds in the world. 

To achieve that, it is, according to a statement, “working to establish a diversified portfolio in accordance with the highest international standards by investing in attractive and long-term opportunities in various sectors and assets locally and internationally.”

It invests in four main areas: Saudi companies, real estate, Saudi mega-projects, and “promising sectors.”