North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, right, inspects the newly-built Pothonggang Shop in Pyongyang, North Korea.
But the move was coupled with the declaration that the North would still deliver a "merciless and annihilating strike" if upcoming joint U.S.-South Korean military drills infringed on the North's territory, Reuters reported.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Il had come to an agreement to restart tours to scenic sights with the chairwoman of South Korea-based Hyundai Group, the biggest investor in the North. The North also agreed to release a Hyundai worker taken hostage when the South's conservative government came to power last year, The Associated Press reported. The agreement requires further talks between governments.
Earlier in August, former President Bill Clinton met with Kim and won release of two American journalists held captive for months. The diplomatic coup followed a series of provocative missile tests and bellicose rhetoric by the North.