South Korea had set up a mountain resort in the North in 1998 to encourage cross-border tourism. However, it closed down following the death of a South Korean tourist there. A soldier shot her in 2008. During a recent visit to the Mount Kumgang complex, Kim Jong-un issued orders to raze those structures to the ground and replace them with new ones.

The buildings were near the DMZ and the reason for the demolition was they were “very backward.” The North's official KCNA news says the leader feels it lacked any national character. He commented that they resembled makeshift tents and must be replaced with those that will have the latest facilities.

Daily Mail UK reports Kim Jong-un inspected the tourist spot located on the east coast of north korea. In his opinion, Mount Kumgang is on North Korean soil and it will not be correct to view it as a symbol of North-South relations. He is very possessive about the spot because it is associated with his country’s sovereignty and dignity. Right now Pyongyang is reeling under sanctions imposed on it and people from the South are not able to visit the North but both sides are hopeful that tourism will resume.

Kim appears to be firm

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared to be firm on his stand that South Korea must not interfere in the resort.

He says – “The resort is North Korean soil, and tourism there must not be under the control of South Korea.” This is a marked deviation from earlier stands because it was one of the two biggest inter-Korean projects. The other was the Kaesong Industrial Complex financed by companies of the South and provided employment to North Korean workers.

Daily Mail UK says the resort used to be a money-spinner. It had seen millions of visitors Travel there from South Korea in the decade before a 53-year-old tourist was killed after being shot.

That incident led to the closure of the resort and tourism-related businesses had to suffer the consequences. It affected especially those who operated restaurants and souvenir shops. Incidentally, the North also lost a valuable source of income because it used to charge an entry fee from visitors and the government took a share of the cost of food and accommodation.

Revamp of tourism could help the Hermit Kingdom

According to Fox News, the Mount Kumgang tourist resort in North Korea was the result of a project that came into being with the help of South Korea after the Korean War. Kim Jong-un visited the area recently, felt the resorts need renovation, and said they must make way for new “modern” buildings.

There is a ban on tourism since 2008, but there have been some reunions of families separated by the Korean War. Because of the ban, the resort is losing substantial sums for South Korean investors. North’s criticism about the resort comes on the heels of the U.N. raising concerns about the availability of food in the country. Thousands of children suffer from malnutrition there and the regime must assign necessary priorities.