Pictured above (Google Earth): April 2010 satellite imagery of the Kumgang tourist resort
The Kumgang resort was receiving 400,000 visitors per year until in July 2008 it became the scene of a terrible tragedy, the shooting of a South Korean tourist. Following the incident, the South Korean government prohibited its citizens from visiting the resort until the DPRK allowed a joint-Korean investigation of the shooting and made a guarantee of future safety. The DPRK never agreed to these terms so the park fell idle.
The suspension of the project has cost the DPRK government millions of dollars. In response it has moved to pressure the ROK government to change course and allow the tours to resume. Below I have kept a timeline of the course of these events and their outcomes.
2014-7-14: The Hankyoreh marks July 11–the 6th anniversary of the day when tours to Mt. Keumgang in North Korea were suspended.
“As a result of the suspension of tourism to Mt. Keumgang, we have lost nearly 1 trillion won [US$981 million], including the 300 billion won [US$294.32 million] invested in the facilities and an estimated 530 billion won in lost revenue,” the investors said. They urged the governments of North and South Korea to immediately hold working-level talks to resume tourism to Mt. Keumgang and to hold reunions for divided families.
“The position of the government is that the issue of the safety of its citizens must be resolved before it can allow tours to Mt. Keumgang to resume. In addition, given the continuing UN Security Council sanctions in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing, which occurred after tours to Mt. Keumgang were halted, we think that the tours cannot be resumed until the government indicates that doing so would not be in violation of UN sanctions,” said Ministry of Unification spokesperson Kim Ui-do during a regular press briefing on July 11.
2011-8-24: Kumgang opened to DPRK and Chinese toursits
2011-8-23: South Korean workers leave Kumgang
2011-6-2: “DPRK Law on Special Zone for International Tour of Mt. Kumgang” released. PDF of the statute here.
2011-4-29: SPA designates Kumgang special zone
2010-11-15: Kumgang re-fozen
2010-5-16: Taephung shows Chinese investors Kumgang
2010-4-23: Seoul denounces the seizure
2010-4-11: Employees told to leave/sealed up
2010-3-24: Investors worried about losing out
2010-3-18: DPRK threatens to seize Kumgang Resort
2010-3-18: Hyundai-Asan’s chief offers to resign