The KCNA news outlet reported that Pyongyang sent an ultimatum to its southern neighbour on 11 November and warned that it would unilaterally tear down the facilities if South Korea refused to do so.
In October, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited the site, which has been abandoned since 2008, and denounced the structures as resembling makeshift tents in disaster-stricken areas. Seoul offered Pyongyang to hold working-level talks on the revival of the long-suspended joint tourist programme. However, North Korea refused to hold negotiations on the matter.
The project on building tourist resort facilities in the Mount Kumgang area began in 1998 and was predominantly funded and built by South Korea with Hyundai Asan, the car manufacturer’s investment wing that develops projects in North Korea, as its main investor.
The tours have been halted since 2008, when a South Korean tourist was shot upon entering what North Korea claimed was a restricted area. Along with an industrial park in the border town of Kaesong, the projects were completely abandoned in 2016 amid escalating international sanctions against Pyongyang for missile tests and the development of nuclear weapons.