South Korean officials are revealing what details they have so far of
last week's fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist by the North
Korean military. The full picture of what actually happened remains
incomplete, however - because the North refuses to cooperate in an
investigation. As VOA Seoul correspondent Kurt Achin reports, key
North Korean officials are not even picking up the phone.
Korean investigators say it is clear to them 53-year old Park Wang-ja
was shot in the back during her visit to North Korea last week.
Seo Jung-seok is a forensic specialist with South Korea's National Institute of Scientific Investigation.
says an autopsy showed two bullets passed through Park's body. Both of
the entry wounds are in her backside - the exit wounds are in the front.
was on a visit to the North's Kumgang Mountain resort last Friday. The
area was built and is managed by South Korea's Hyundai corporation as a
showcase of inter-Korean reconciliation.
Park apparently left
her hotel room for an early morning stroll, and was later shot near a
seaside area. North Korea has told Hyundai Asan she wandered into a
restricted zone and attempted to flee when confronted by military
Investigator Seo says Park died of excessive blood
loss from the wounds. He says based on the pattern of damage to
organs, he estimates the shots were taken at fairly long range.
Korea is relying mainly on witness testimony from fellow tourists to
reconstruct the killing, because it is receiving no cooperation
whatsoever from North Korea.
Pyongyang has refused South Korea's
demands to allow investigators to visit the site of the killing. It
has also failed to share footage taken by North Korean closed circuit
cameras that may have been pointed at Friday's occurrences. South
Korea's Unification Ministry says they have tried to contact North
Korea using a specially established phone line, but nobody is picking
The North has blamed South Korea for the shooting and
demanded a formal apology. Far from apologizing, South Korea has
called the North Korean shooting "wrong" and "unimaginable."
impasse over the shooting is a reflection of the broader North-South
relationship, which has chilled considerably since the February
inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. Pyongyang has
refused any dialogue with Mr. Lee, who it describes as a "traitor" for
his conservative policy stance toward the North.
For now, the
Kumgang tour project is frozen, costing North Korea badly needed hard
currency with each passing day. The question that remains is how much
more pressure South Korea will be willing to apply until it gets the
answers it feels it deserves from the North.