Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Seoul: North Korea destroys golf course owned by South Korea

Seoul, South Korea ( Associated Press) — North Korea is destroying a South Korean-owned golf course at a scenic mountain resort, in the second confirmed case of a South Korean property ending in an area where rivals once combined. The tour program was conducted, officials said Tuesday in Seoul.

North Korea has demolished South Korean-built facilities at its Diamond Mountain resort as relations between the countries strained over the recent series of high-profile missile tests by North Korea.

Responding to questions from the Associated Press, Seoul’s unification ministry said it had confirmed North Korea was demolishing a golf resort in addition to a South Korean-owned hotel. Last Friday, the ministry said that North Korea was destroying the floating hotel Hegmgang Hotel in the coastal area of ​​the resort.

The ministry said it strongly urges North Korea to stop destroying South Korean facilities. It called on North Korea to return to talks to resolve the issue.

The two Koreas jointly ran a tour project at the resort for about 10 years during the old era of the Inter-Korean detente. Tourism attracted an estimated 2 million South Korean visitors and served as a scarce source of foreign exchange for the poor North. But South Korea suspended the project in 2008 after one of its tourists was shot by a North Korean soldier.

After improving their ties in 2018, the two Koreas insisted on resuming stalled cooperation projects, including mountain visits. But Seoul ultimately failed to do so without defying US-led sanctions that prevented a resumption of tourism. In 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered officials to tear down South Korean-owned property at the resort, but demolition was delayed due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

North Korea has sought sanctions relief and other concessions from the United States and South Korea to revive its dying economy. Some experts say its recent weapons testing activity was intended to improve its missile technology and take advantage of it in future talks with its rivals.

In addition to golf resorts and floating hotels, South Korea has other amenities at the resort such as a spa, a culture center, accommodations, a duty-free shop, karaoke rooms and a building used to reunite war-separated Korean families. The fate of those facilities was unclear.

North’s state media reported Tuesday that fires in the Diamond Mountain area over the weekend destroyed unspecified facilities and hundreds of hectares of forest. The fire was brought under control on Sunday.

It was not immediately known whether the fire was related to the demolition of South Korean facilities at the resort. South Korea’s unification ministry said it was trying to determine if the fire caused any damage to its facilities at the resort.

Nation World News Desk
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