The hotel and convention facilities at the Mt. Kumgang resort in North Korea where the latest reunions of families separated by the Korean War took place showed clear signs of the years of disuse, reporters said.
The most noticeable change was a stone tablet erected next to the Kumgangsan Hotel hailing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. During the last reunions, his father Kim Jong-il was still alive and in power.
The snow-covered landscape was breathtaking, but the hotel and other accommodation were visibly worn. Paint peeled off walls and signs were faded, demonstrating that North Korean authorities failed to maintain the facilities after confiscating them from South Korean tour operator Hyundai Asan in April 2010.
A placard welcomed the South Koreans on the road leading up to the hotel from the North Korean checkpoint. But North Korea's excessive attempts to control South Korean media have not changed.
North Korea officials forcefully inspected the laptops of five journalists from the South at the checkpoint, prompting reporters to protest. Some of the laptops did not work properly afterwards.