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.
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 ofdismantling 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.
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.
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.
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.