Tourist Killing Was S.Korean 'Plot,' Pyongyang Claims

North Korea on Saturday claimed the July 2008 shooting death of South Korean tourist by the North's troops in the Mt. Kumgang resort was the "product of a deliberate scheme" from Seoul.

The North Korean agency in charge of now-suspended package tours to Mt. Kumgang said the shooting death was "highly suspicious."

North Korea has claimed that the tourist, Park Wang-ja, strayed 1 km into an off-limits military area on July 11, 2008. Told by a North Korean soldier to stop, she instead fled and the soldier fired.

North Korea blames South Korea for failing to control visitors and insists the tours, which had been a substantial cash cow for the cash-strapped regime, must resume, even though the Stalinist country has adamantly refused to offer security guarantees or permit the South to investigate the incident.

It said South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the ruling Saenuri Party must take responsibility for stopping the tours, suggesting that it is returning to the matter now to try and influence the upcoming presidential elections here.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 10, 2012 10:03 KST