Mount Kumgang Tourist Region
special administrative region of North Korea
|• Hangul||금 강 산 관 광 지 구|
|• Hanja||金 剛 山 觀 光 地 區|
|• Revised Romanization||Geumgangsan Gwan-gwang Jigu|
|• McCune–Reischauer||Kŭmgangsan Kwan'gwang Chigu|
|Short name transcription(s)|
|• Hangul||금 강 산|
|• Hanja||金 剛 山|
|• Revised Romanization||Geumgangsan|
|• Type||Tourist Region*|
|• Total||530 km2 (200 sq mi)|
The Mount Kumgang Tourist Region is a special administrative region of North Korea. It was established in 2002 to handle South Korean tourist traffic to Mount Kumgang (Diamond Mountain). It was one of the symbols of the South Korean Sunshine Policy.
Beginning in 1998, South Korean and other foreign tourists were allowed to visit Mount Kumgang, traveling at first by cruise ship,[ citation needed ] and then by bus on a newly built road through the Korean Demilitarized Zone. In 2002, the area around the mountain was separated from Kangwon Province and organized as a separately administered Tourist Region, covering 204.6 square miles (530 km2). From 1998 to July 2008 over one million South Koreans visited the resort. The resort is home to Hotel Haegumgang, a floating hotel that first operated on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Much of the infrastructure in the area has been built by the South Korean Hyundai Asan company which received a 30-year exclusive deal to develop the region. In addition to hotels, it was also to include golf courses, ski resorts and other facilities. Developed facilities included Kumgangsan Hotel and Oikumgang Hotel, the former described as the "flagship hotel" for the region. By 2007 the region has reported more than 1.7 million visitors.
In July 2008, Park Wang-ja, a 53-year-old South Korean tourist, was shot twice and killed when she entered a military area, according to the North Korean government.The South Korean request for a joint inquiry was denied. Forensic tests done on Park suggest that she was standing still or walking slowly when shot. This contradicted the North Korean claim that she was running and did not heed warnings. Immediately after the shooting, the South Korean government suspended tours to the resort. In August 2008 the North Koreans announced that they would expel "unnecessary" South Korean workers from the resort.
In March 2010, the DPRK government warned of "extraordinary measures" if the tourism ban were not lifted.On April 23, 2010, the North Korean government seized 5 properties owned by South Korea at the resort, saying that it was done "in compensation for the damage the North side suffered due to the suspension of the tour for a long period." In seizing the properties, North Korea also alluded to the Baengnyeong incident, showing displeasure with South Korea blaming North Korea for the sinking of the ship. Hyundai Asan losses from this incident are estimated at hundreds of million of dollars lost from investment, and further losses due to suspension of tourism-generated income.
Since April 2010, North Korea is now permitting companies to run tours from the North Korean side, [ citation needed ] As of September 2011 North Korea have begun operating cruises directly from Rason in north-eastern North Korea, to the port in Mount Kumgang, offering visitors the chance to stay in the resorts previously run by the south. Although they are aimed primarily at Chinese guests, western companies are also offering the tours.making it appear increasingly unlikely that tours will be resumed from the South. However, on October 1, 2010, news reports said, "Red Cross officials from the two Koreas agreed Friday to hold reunions for families separated by the Korean War amid mixed signals from North Korea on easing tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship. One hundred families from each country will attend the meetings from Oct. 30 to Nov. 5 at a hotel and reunion center at the North's scenic Diamond Mountain resort, Unification Ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo said."
Despite the Lee Myung-bak government expressing a verbal anti-North Korean stance, the head of the government-funded Korea Institute for National Unification, Kim Tae-u, proposed that the South Korean government renegotiate on the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region with North Korea without any official apology on North Korea's military actions towards the ROKS Cheonan sinking and the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong.
A 2018 travel book described most facilities in the region closed due to lack of visitors.
In 2018, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's Kim Jong-un agreed to restart tours to the resort. In 2019, Kim Jong-un visited the site and criticised the facilities: "They are not only very backward in terms of architecture but look so shabby as they are not properly cared for. The buildings are just a hotchpotch with no national character at all."He also ordered the South Korean facilities to be replaced by "modern facilities". This has been criticized by the South Korean government which instead proposed renovating the complex. In January 2020, the North Korean government said that redevelopment of the site was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The music of North Korea includes a wide array of folk, pop, light instrumental, political, and classical performers. Beyond patriotic and political music, popular groups like Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble and Moranbong Band perform songs about everyday life in the DPRK and modern light pop reinterpretations of classic Korean folk music. Music education is widely taught in schools, with President Kim Il-Sung first implementing a program of study of musical instruments in 1949 at an orphanage in Mangyongdae. Musical diplomacy also continues to be relevant to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, with musical and cultural delegations completing concerts in China and France in recent years, and musicians from Western countries and South Korea collaborating on projects in the DPRK.
Wŏnsan, previously known as Wŏnsanjin (元山津), Port Lazarev, and Gensan (元山), is a port city and naval base located in Kangwŏn Province, North Korea, along the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula, on East Sea and the provincial capital. The port was opened by occupying Japanese forces in 1880. Before the 1950–1953 Korean War, it fell within the jurisdiction of the then South Hamgyŏng province, and during the war it was the location of the Blockade of Wŏnsan. The population of the city was estimated at 329,207 in 2013. Notable people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party.
Mount Kumgang or the Kumgang Mountains are a mountain/mountain range, with a 1,638-metre-high (5,374 ft) Birobong peak, in Kangwon-do, North Korea. It is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the South Korean city of Sokcho in Gangwon-do. It is one of the best-known mountains in North Korea. It is located on the east coast of the country, in Mount Kumgang Tourist Region, formerly part of Kangwŏn Province. Mount Kumgang is part of the Taebaek mountain range which runs along the east of the Korean Peninsula.
The Donghae Bukbu Line is a former railway line that connected the present-day city of Anbyon in Kangwon Province, North Korea, with Yangyang, Gangwon Province, South Korea. Since the division of Korea it has only carried trains for a brief period during 2007/8. The line originally connected to the Gyeongwon Line running from Gyeongseong to Wonsan.
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The Man Gyong Bong 92 is a cargo-passenger ferry, named after a hill near Pyongyang. The ferry was built in 1992 with funds from Chongryon, the pro-North Korean General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, and was used to transport passengers and cargo between North Korea and Japan. These voyages continued until 2006 when Japan banned North Korean ships from its waters. In 2011 the ship trialed a route between Rason and Mount Kumgang. In 2018, the ship carried a 140 person delegation, as well as an art troupe, for the 2018 Winter Olympics and docked in Mukho port.
Tourism in North Korea is tightly controlled by the North Korean government. Only about 4,000 to 6,000 Western tourists visit North Korea each year. All tourism is organized by one of several state-owned tourism bureaus, including Korea International Travel Company (KITC), Korean International Sports Travel Company (KISTC), Korean International Taekwondo Tourism Company (KITTC) and Korean International Youth Travel Company (KIYTC).
Kosŏng County is a kun, or county, in Kangwŏn province, North Korea. It lies in the southeasternmost corner of North Korea, immediately north of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Prior to the end of the Korean War in 1953, it made up a single county, together with what is now the South Korean county of the same name. In a subsequent reorganization, the county absorbed the southern portion of Tongch'ŏn county.
Anbyŏn Station is a railway station in Anbyŏn-ŭp, Anbyŏn County in Kangwŏn province, North Korea. It is located on the Kangwŏn Line, which connects Kowŏn to P'yŏnggang, and is the start of the Kŭmgangsan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line, which runs to the Mount Kŭmgang Tourist Region and continues south across the DMZ to Chejin in South Korea, although the section between Kŭmgangsan and Chejin has been out of service since 2008.
The Kŭmgangsan Electric Railway, later known as the Kŭmgangsan Line, was a railway line that formerly ran between Ch'ŏrwŏn to Naegŭmgang, on the inner side of Mount Kŭmgang. At Ch'ŏrwŏn, the line connected to the Kyŏngwŏn Line of the Chosen Government Railway (Sentetsu) the Kyŏngwŏn Line was split between Korail's Gyeongwon Line in South Korea and the Kangwŏn Line of the Korean State Railway.
The Pyongyang Folklore Park is an amusement park located in Pyongyang, North Korea, at the foot of Mount Taesong. It was built with a historical theme, and construction began in December, 2008. There are also folk parks in Sukchon, South Pyongan Province and Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province. South Korean folk parks with an historical theme such as Korean Folk Village are popular attractions. Tourists rarely visited the park. When tourists did visit, they were usually part of organized tours. The park was shut down for renovations in June 2016. News reports speculated that the facility reminded Kim Jong-un of his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, who managed the project before his execution in 2013. In 2019, the satellite image shows that the park has been demolished.
The Kŭmgangsan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line is an electrified standard-gauge trunk line of the Korean State Railway in North Korea running from Anbyŏn to Kamho. The total length of the line is 114.8 km (71.3 mi), but it is only in regular use as far as Kŭmgangsan Ch'ŏngnyŏn; the length of the line to there is 101 km (63 mi).
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Masikryong Ski Resort is a ski resort at the summit of the 1,360-metre (4,460 ft) Taehwa Peak some 20 kilometres (12 mi) outside Wonsan City in Kangwon Province, North Korea.
The Hotel Haegumgang is a floating hotel that began operations in Queensland, Australia, was moved to Vietnam, and is currently docked at Mount Kumgang on the east coast North Korea. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, it "has developed something of a cult following in Australia".
Kŭmgangsan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Station is a railway station in Kosŏng county, Kangwŏn province, North Korea on the Kŭmgangsan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line of the Korean State Railway.
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There are no officially confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Korea, although South Korean sources state that the pandemic is steadily affecting the country. The virus is more likely to have come into North Korea from China, where the virus originated, than from South Korea. The Chinese-North Korean border restrictions are more relaxed than the heavily militarized border between North and South Korea. However, suspected COVID-19 cases in the two Chinese provinces bordering North Korea have been low.
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