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Senior US Envoy Questions S. Korean Tourism Project in North


A senior U.S. envoy has expressed disapproval of a South Korean tourism project in North Korea. The U.S. Secretary of State is expected to ask Seoul to take part in blocking North Korean from trading in banned weapons material.

In what he said was his personal opinion, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill Wednesday suggested that a South Korean-built industrial zone in the North Korean city of Kaesong might have some merit. But he criticized a South Korean-funded tourism zone at the North's Mount Kumgang.

"I think one [Kaesong] is designed to make a long-term investment in human capital - the other [Kumgang] seems to be designed to give money to the North Korean authorities," he said.

Officials in Seoul say the two projects will continue despite North Korea's nuclear test last week.

Also Wednesday, a U.S. official said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will ask South Korea to join a U.S.-led initiative to halt trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. Rice arrives in Seoul Thursday to discuss ways to enforce United Nations sanctions that bar Pyongyang from trading in some weapons material.

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