A defiant North Korea blamed South Korea for the shooting death of a South Korean tourist in the communist nation and refused Saturday to cooperate in an investigation, further jeopardising a bid by Seoul's new president to reverse a deepening chill in relations with Pyongyang.
While making a brief expression of regret over the woman shot Friday by a North Korean soldier, the North demanded Seoul apologise for its “intolerable insult” of suspending trips to a North Korean mountain resort — and said it would not allow visitors anyway until the South did so.
On Saturday, Lee denounced the killing of 53-year-old housewife Park Wang-ja and urged the North to cooperate in the investigation. "What cannot and should not happen has happened,” Lee told a security ministers' meeting, according to his office. "I can't understand that they shot a civilian tourist" at a time of day when it was possible to discern she was a civilian, Lee said, and urged Pyongyang to “actively cooperate” in an investigation.
The North later Saturday expressed regret over the death in a statement from its tourism bureau. But it said the tourist “intruded deep into the area under the military control of the North side all alone at dawn”, noting that “even (her) shoes got wet.” The North said its soldier spotted the tourist and ordered her to stop, but she ran away. The soldier “repeatedly shouted at (her) to stop” and fired warning shots, but then “could not but open fire” at the woman.