Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gangneung Unification Park

In September, 1996, a North Korean spy submarine crashed on the rocks off of the east coast of South Korea. The 26 crew members managed to escape on to land. Some killed themselves, others tried to escape to the North and the man hunt for these soldiers caused the death of 17 South Koreans. Surprisingly, the North Korean government issued a formal apology for the loss of lives during the incident that following December. Later the South Koreans placed the submarine, along with a retired US Navy battleship donated to the ROK by the US government, into a park along the east coast named Gangneung Unification Park.
Durring our trip to Yongpyong two weekends ago, we decided to spend a little time at the beach, since it's only about a 45 minute drive away. When we reached the coast, I noticed that the coast was lined with barbed wire and military posts. I guess this was all installed after the crash of the North Korean sub as precaucionary measures if it were to ever happen agian. As we drove along, we came across Gangneung Unification Park and decided to check it out.

The first thing we did was check out the battleship. Actually, at the time I didn't realize it was an American ship, I found that while I was doing research to write this post. But, it was quite interesting to walk through the inside of a battle ship. We were even able to sit where they would shoot the guns. Then had a lot of historical information about the Korean Navy and the North Korean submarine crash in 1996.

Then we went over to the North Korean sub and were totally surprised that we were allowed to to in and see. We had to put on hard hats because of the low ceilings and small door frames. It's hard to believe that 24 men were on this tiny sub when it crashed.

Here's a view from the front of the sub
Me in the North Korean Sub

You can actually see the damage that the sub suffered when it crashed on the rocks off the east coast.

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