North Korea Blows up Tourist Resort for South Koreans, Report Says


  • North Korea’s Mount Kumgang – Diamond Mountain – tourist resort once symbolized hope for peace.
  • Satellite images show that buildings at the resort were destroyed last weekend, per The Times.
  • Many of the destroyed buildings were South Korea-owned.

North Korea has used explosives to demolish a golf resort that was built for South Koreans and once symbolized hope for peace and cooperation between the two countries, according to The Times.

Satellite images show that buildings in the Mount Kumgang – Diamond Mountain – tourist resort, built by South Korean companies, were partially destroyed last weekend, The Times reported.

This follows reports that the floating Haegumgang Hotel in Mount Kumgang, which South Korean’s Hyundai Group owned, was dismantled last month, per local media.

Visitors enjoy the manicured lawn at the South Korean-owned golf course at the Mount Kumgang resort, also known as Diamond Mountain, in North Korea on Sept. 1, 2011.

Visitors enjoy the manicured lawn at the South Korean-owned golf course at the Mount Kumgang resort, also known as Diamond Mountain, in North Korea on Sept. 1, 2011.

Ng Han Guan, AP Photo


South Korean government officials attempted to use an intergovernmental hotline to demand an explanation for the destruction of tourist businesses in the mountainous region, per The Times. They were unsuccessful in their efforts to get a response.

“North Korea’s unilateral act of dismantling the hotel clearly goes against the purpose of joint inter-Korean efforts based on mutual respect and consultations,” Cha Deok-cheol, a spokesman for South Korea’s unification ministry, told The Times.

In this Saturday Oct. 8, 2011 photo, a North Korean man records video of the scenery as he and fellow hikers climb to a peak of Mount Kumgang, North Korea.

In this Saturday Oct. 8, 2011 photo, a North Korean man records video of the scenery as he and fellow hikers climb to a peak of Mount Kumgang, North Korea.

David Guttenfelder/AP Photo


Mount Kumgang Tourist Region, a special administrative region of North Korea, was established in 2002 to welcome South Korean vacationers.

It was a hallmark of South Korea’s “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with North Korea — a foreign policy framework that attempted to bolster cooperation between the two nations via economic interaction.

Map of Mount Kumgang Tourist Region in North Korea.

Map of Mount Kumgang Tourist Region in North Korea.

Insider/Google Maps


South Koreans frequented the resort for several years, contributing foreign currency to the North Korean economy. However, tourism stopped in 2008 when a tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier.

A 53-year-old South Korean woman was killed after walking into an off-limits area, resulting in the South Korean government suspending tours to the resort. The suspension lasted until 2018.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the Mount Kumgang tourist resort, North Korea

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the Mount Kumgang tourist resort, North Korea on October 23, 2019.

REUTERS


In 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited and criticized the tourist region, describing it as “backward,” “hotchpotch,” and “shabby,” per Australia’s ABC News. The media outlet reported that he called for facilities to be rebuilt to meet North Korea’s “aesthetic taste,” the media outlet reported.



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