Friday, July 11, 2008
A North Korean soldier shot dead a female South Korean tourist who strayed into a restricted military area during a morning stroll at a resort in the communist North, officials said Friday.
Seoul called the incident “deeply regrettable” and suspended tours to the Mount Kumgang resort, one of only two sites in North Korea open to South Korean visitors. It called for a full investigation into the tragedy.
The shooting was the first since tours to the resort, developed by the South as a symbol of reconciliation, began in 1998.
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It came on the same day that President Lee Myung-Bak offered to hold talks with the North to end months of hostility between the two governments.
He knew about the incident before making his speech but decided to go ahead with it, a presidential spokesman said.
The North told the South Korean tour operator Hyundai Asan that the 53-year-old woman was walking on the beach at around 5:00 am (2000 GMT Thursday) when she strayed into an off-limits zone.
It said she fled despite a warning to halt and was shot in the chest and the hip. The body was later handed over to the South, and taken to a hospital in Sokcho.