North Korea destroys buildings on Mount Kumgang, a symbol of peace on the Korean Peninsula
Mount Kumgang, whose name means “diamond” in Korean, has been a site of rare moments of reconciliation between the citizens of the two countries, which are technically still at war. An official from South Korea’s Ministry of Unification told CNN that it had observed what appeared to be “dismantling activity” in several places on Mount Kumgang, according to CNN.
The news comes months after unconfirmed reports suggested that several buildings in the complex had been demolished. On the list could also be the Onjonggak Rest House, located at the foot of Mount Kumgang, the site of the highly publicized reunions of the separated families from the South and North.
Why are the North Koreans destroying the resort symbol of peace?
Hyundai Asan’s Kumgang office may also have been vandalized this week. The South Korean-owned company was responsible for managing the tourist area.
“The Mount Kumgang tours have enhanced inter-Korean reconciliation and served as a focal point for inter-Korean exchange,” Hyundai Asan spokesman Park Sung-uk previously told CNN.
Additionally, North Korea has begun demolishing the famous Haegumgang Hotel. Once a luxury resort floating above Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the hotel was relocated to Kumgang and opened to tourists in 2000.
Where is this place located?
Kumgang Resort, which is about 30 minutes north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), was jointly administered by the two countries. It stopped receiving tourists in 2008 after a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean woman who crossed the limits of Mount Kumgang’s tourist area and entered a military zone.
However, separated families continued to reunite there until 2018. Since then, the area has been left to decay. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who visited Kumgang in 2019, called it “shaky and backward.”
North Korea is reportedly planning to replace all the structures at Mount Kumgang with new ones, which could indicate that the government intends to manage and control the resort area without any assistance from its southern neighbor.