More tourists find they can't stay away from 'dangerous' DMZ

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Dec. 5, 2017 at 1:37 PM
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Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Tensions at the border between North and South Korea are revitalizing tourism to the heavily guarded demilitarized zone, as fear of North Korea turns into curiosity about the frontlines.

Cosmo Jin Tour, a South Korean travel agency specializing in tours to Panmunjom and secret North Korea-built tunnels, said foreign nationals visiting the border have increased nearly three-fold, or 2.8 times, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

In 2017, tourists who used the agency to visit the DMZ increased 10 percent per month, Cosmo said.

The tour company said they have experienced a "Trump bump" as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanged verbal insults and Trump threatened "fire and fury" unless Pyongyang agrees to cease provocations.

"Following the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump, people around the world have shifted their interest to the security issues surrounding North and South Korea," the company told Yonhap. "Tourism to the DMZ has become vibrant."

Many tour applicants opt for the visit to the truce village of Panmunjom, but those are "sometimes canceled, owing to dangerous military situations," Cosmo Jin said.

Gunfire recently erupted in the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom, when North Korean troops fired at a fleeing soldier.

The young North Korean defector continues to recover at a South Korean hospital, where several parasites were removed from his stomach through surgery.

CNN recently aired a graphic video of the surgery, including footage of South Korean surgeons pulling bullets and parasites out of the victim's body.

Oh Chong Song, the defector, was "dying of low blood pressure" before his life was spared, surgeon Lee Cook-jong told CNN.

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