Don’t offer candy to guards at Kumgang

From South African Sunday Times:
NKorea detains 1,000 tourists

Up to 1,000 South Korean tourists were detained briefly in North Korea after a lawmaker amongst them offered snacks and ice cream to a soldier, a report said.

The group was visiting Mount Kumgang, a craggy tourist enclave in the eastern part of the Stalinist state, when the incident happened, according to tour operator Hyundai Asan, who was quoted by Yonhap news agency.

The tourists were detained for some 40 minutes after the contact between a North Korean military guard and Cha Myung-jin, a lawmaker of South Korea’s opposition Grand National Party, the report said.

The South Koreans were later released and deported home, reportedly after the South Korean side apologised and promised such unauthorised interaction would not happen again.

Amid easing tensions between the two Koreas, more than a million tourists have visited the rugged terrain just a few kilometres north of the border with South Korea since tours began in November 1998.

Visitors to Mount Kumgang enjoy circuses, listen to old Korean ballads, and soak their limbs in natural hot springs, but they are prohibited from stepping outside the zone to talk with North Korean people.


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