Before I read or heard anything about it in the news, my sister's boyfriend (all the way in Scotland) mentioned that a South Korean woman had been killed by a North Korean soldier while she was on vacation there.
What will this do for the already unsteady inter-Korean relations? North Korea claims the woman had wandered into a restricted area near the resort at Mount Geumgang early in the morning on 11 July. She apparently just wanted to see the sunrise. She ran when she was warned by the soldiers and was shot dead. The area was restricted and surrounded by a fence, but apparently the fence abruptly ended on a sand dune, where she supposedly walked, with little or no posted warnings for her to see.
The South Korean government argues that the reported time of death doesn't fit the evidence. How could a middle-aged woman walk over three kilometres in just twenty minutes, South Korea argues, especially on a sandy beach? But, stories from both sides have changed since the initial reports came out, making the story very confusing to follow.
While I think that the shooting was unnecessary, my big question is: why was she running away? When in North Korea, wherever you are and whatever you're doing, never run from a DPRK soldier.
Some South Koreans and foreigners travel into North Korea, but only to two designated areas (Kaesong city and Mount Geumgang) and on tours, which are, of course, highly regulated. The resort at Mount Geumgang, also known as Diamond Mountain, opened in 1998 and has since welcomed over a million visitors. I heard about the tour when I first moved to Korea and, after the excitement of my DMZ tour last fall, I was planning on visiting the Diamond Mountains to see a little bit more of North Korea. But, due to this incident and the sketchy investigation details, all tours to the Diamond Mountains have been suspended indefinitely.