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North Korea Threatens to End Tour Agreement

A South Korean tourist in his own car enters the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to cross border separating the two Koreas in Goseong, far northeast of South Korea as soldiers wave, March 17, 2008

North Korea has threatened to strip South Korean company Hyundai of its right to run cross-border tours to the scenic Mount Kumgang on the North's eastern border.

The South suspended tours to the scenic mountain three years ago, after soldiers shot to death a South Korean woman who strayed into a restricted military area.

In a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, a spokesman for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee said Pyongyang's patience had run out.

The statement said the North may entrust an overseas business professional with the tours.

Hyundai and North Korea signed an agreement in 1998 granting the South Korean conglomerate a 50-year monopoly on the tours.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.