Still no answersA government investigation team has made a shocking announcement concerning the shooting killing of South Korean tourist Park Wang-ja at Mount Kumgang. The forensics team carried out tests to estimate the distance and the direction of the shots. The simulation took place on a beach at Goseong, Gangwon Province, a similar location to the site of Park’s death.
The test suggests that the fatal shots were fired from a distance of less than 100 meters and that Park may have halted or was walking at a very slow pace when she was killed.
At around 5 a.m., when the North Korean troops shot Park, there was sufficient light to discern whether the target was a man or a woman from a distance of 70 meters. This information hints very strongly that the North Korean shooter may have realized Park was a tourist, but fired anyway.
The incident took place three weeks ago but North Korea remains brazen. Let alone making an apology, it hasn’t explained why Park was shot.
A statement by the North Korean department that handles tourism on Mount Kumgang and the explanation North Korea gave to Hyundai Asan, the South Korean operator of the tours, raise many questions and suspicions and don’t offer answers, leaving South Koreans enraged.
What is exasperating is that the North has changed the time of the killing twice and the location of the spot where Park was found.
If the body was 800 meters past the wire fence, as North Korea claims, it is hard to believe that a healthy, young soldier couldn’t have caught a woman in her 50s without firing a shot.
North Korea is pushing the Lee Myung-bak administration to fulfill the announcement made during last year’s summit meeting between former President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
North Korea is reaching out to the international community to urge support for that agreement. But the North has to stick to its side of the bargain, which doesn’t seem to be the case. An article in the announcement last year states that the South and North will not be hostile to each other and will resolve conflicts through dialogue.
Killing an unarmed South Korean woman runs counter to the spirit of the agreement. North Korea is mistaken if it believes Park’s death will be forgotten. North Korean leaders should bear in mind that unless this incident is resolved, South-North relations are unlikely to reach any form of harmony for a long time to come.