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North Korea: Liaison OfficesThe First Time

Instead, in summer 1995, the DPRK side sent a message that it was delaying the exchange indefinitely. Later that year the DPRK said it was canceling the exchange until further notice. It is conjecture as to why the DPRK canceled the exchange. When a US Army helicopter strayed across the DMZ in December 1994 and was shot down, killing one pilot and wounding the other, the US point of contact in trying to retrieve the wounded pilot and the body of the dead pilot was through the newly established channels to the Foreign Ministry that had been opened up during the Agreed Framework talks. The North Korean military establishment angrily insisted on controlling the discussion for the DPRK side. Additionally, the US Liaison Office negotiating team detected strong tension between military and Foreign Ministry personnel during a trip to the northern side of the DMZ to inspect possible crossing points should the DPRK side agree to any use of the DMZ crossing by the US Liaison Office. The timing of the helicopter incident was unfortunate. The DPRK liaison office negotiating delegation was arriving back in Pyongyang from a meeting in Washington, having leaned as far forward as it probably could on the issue of DMZ crossing, just as the helicopter was shot down. My personal speculation is that the North Korean military became resistant to the idea of a US diplomatic establishment in Pyongyang that would become the focal point of US-DPRK dialogue, perhaps even on military issues, and bypass the DPRK-US military channel in Panmunjom. Perhaps the military made the argument that the DPRK had functional representation in the US through its UN Mission and there was nothing additional to be gained by giving the US a liaison office in Pyongyang. It is somewhat ironic that one of the DPRK’s “talking points” in discussing US hostility to the DPRK since 1995 is that North Korea is one of the only countries in the world without diplomatic relations with the US.

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North Korea makes push to attract Taiwanese tourists

North Korea makes push to attract Taiwanese tourists North Korea makes push to attract Taiwanese tourists North Korea makes push to attract Taiwanese tourists Taipei, July 19 (CNA) In an effort to attract more Taiwanese tourists to North Korea, the country opened an official tourism promotion center in Taipei Thursday. Following the opening ceremony, two tour group packages were offered to Taiwanese who now can directly book packages to visit the hermit kingdom. The two packages, NT$30,000 (about US$1,000) for a three-night tour and NT$50,000 for a five-night stay, were the first to be offered by the center -- a joint venture between a North Korean government-sponsored travel agency and Taipei-based Chung Hsing Travel Service. All the destinations included in the two tour group packages are scenic spots authorized by North Korea's tourism bureau to target foreign visitors, an executive of the center said. According to the executive, Chinese and Russian tourists make up the bulk of foreign visitors to North Korea. Fewer than 1,000 Taiwanese tourists visit per year, he noted. According to Chung Hsing Travel Service Chairman Ringo Lee (李奇嶽), there are no direct flights between Taiwan and Pyongyang at present and travelers bound for North Korea have to transfer in China. Efforts are being be made to launch direct chartered flights between Taiwan and Pyongyang and there will be private flights to serve high-end customers, he said.

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Recently, #Korea's recognizable monasteries were added to the list of World Heritage sites! Hooray! Click the link to see which monasteries made the list! 

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