The tours of Mount Kumgang were erected in 1998 with the improvement of relations between the two Koreas. Discontinued in 2008, they were considered one of the largest inter-Korean cooperative projects.
Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has criticized the policy of his late father to depend on South Korea for tourism development on Mount Kumgang (on the east coast), ordering the demolition of "all the structures of an 'unpleasant look' built by Seoul.
Tours to Mount Kumgang were launched in 1998 with improved relations between the two Koreas. They suffered a sudden interruption in 2008, after a North Korean soldier killed a southern tourist who had left the approved route. Seoul decided to suspend the program. This was considered one of the major inter-Korean cooperative projects, along with the industrial park in the border town of Kaesong (also interrupted). Both plans were executed when Kim's late father, Kim Jong-il, was in power.
The South Korean company Hyundai Asan participated in the construction of the tourist complex on one of the most panoramic mountains of the peninsula. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors from the South.
Pyongyang and Seoul have long wanted to resume visits, but now they would violate the international sanctions imposed on North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic programs.
The Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) reports that today Kim has gone to the site and has criticized the buildings as "squalid" and "a mixture without any national character". The official Northern press agency adds that the structures "were built as makeshift tents in an area hit by a disaster or in sectors of isolation" and "very backward in terms of architecture".