Tourist murdered by North Korea?

The shooting that resulted in the death of a tourist last week is unacceptable by itself. There is no way North Korea could justify the lethal shooting of a 53-year old unarmed housewife, short of her being a threat to another's life or extremely sensitive facilities. And it's laughable to think that such justifying circumstances could have occurred; if she was a threat to someone's life then they would have no reason to hide it and in fact would have every reason to publicize it, and I can't believe that even the North Koreans would be incompetent enough to locate an extremely sensitive facility near a tourist resort. Anything less, even including espionage, would at most rate a detention.

While it would be bad enough if it was just an extremely unfortunate incident caused by an undisciplined and hair-trigger soldier, North Korea seems to be doing everything it can to make it look far worse. While I'm usually skeptical of conspiracy theories, it's as if they want us to believe that this entire incident was staged by the North Korean government. The following facts make the whole thing stink:

  • Previous incursions into restricted areas were merely warned away without shots being fired.

  • North Korea is stonewalling any investigation by outside parties.

  • The account of the incident provided by North Korea is fishy.

    • If the explanation provided by North Korea were correct, then a 53-year old woman would have had to walked 3.3 kilometers, or 2 miles, on sand within 30 minutes, which doesn't sound terribly realistic.
    • Witnesses claim they heard gunshots 30 minutes after when North Korea claims the incident happened.
    • Witnesses also claim that they heard only two gunshots, despite the claim by North Korea that a warning shot was fired before the two lethal shots.
  • North Korea blames South Korea for the incident with no explanation. A North Korean kills an unarmed South Korean and somehow it's the fault of South Korea? How is this supposed to work?

What's going on here? What is North Korea aiming for? What is it they want that would outstrip their desperate need for the large amount of hard currency they earn from the tourist resort? As a non-member of all the governments involved, I feel no compunction about indulging in fanciful speculations:

  • Somehow all the facts are according to North Korea's claims, and the witnesses are just remembering incorrectly. North Korea is just being its usual obstinate self.

  • North Korea did a half-assed job of investigating what happened, and they don't want to get embarrassed by outside investigations showing how incompetent they are.

  • North Korea is trying to do a minor coverup, perhaps trying to protect the responsible solder who might happen to be the son of an important Party member, to hide the fact that he was drunk, or to dodge responsibility for the lack of discipline and sloppy maintenance of the resort boundaries.

  • North Korea is using this unfortunate incident as a chance to break off, or at least dampen, diplomatic relations with South Korea.

  • The tourist was part of an espionage operation by South Korea and was killed when discovered.

  • An internal power play is occurring using this incident as an opportunity, resulting in miscommunications and a sloppy investigation. Or perhaps false information is being deliberately fed to the higher ups in the North Korean government to weaken their power.

  • This was a deliberate act of cold-blooded murder by North Korea for political gain. Perhaps the guarding soldier had standing orders to kill any tourists straying into a restricted area at the earliest opportunity, so it could have been anyone that was shot.

What could be the truth? I have no idea. I just hope that North Korea doesn't get away with it without any negative consequences.