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11 of the world's most unusual surf spots On a sunny Saturday afternoon, visiting families take selfies in front of a large "Surfyy Beach" sign erected in the sand, just meters from a military camera that scans the horizon. Up and down the coast, there are many similar examples of beach communities co-existing with the security forces. At the 38th Parallel Beach -- the original dividing line between North and South Korea, which existed until the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 -- a squad of soldiers carrying rifles patrols the shore at sunrise, long before wetsuited surfers hurl themselves on boards and paddle into the ocean. Much of South Korea's east coast, popular among surfers, is lined with fences topped with barbed wires. The security measures protect the coast from the threat of possible North Korean incursions. In past decades, there have been a number of deadly incidents involving North Korean security forces that approached the South Korean shoreline. In September 1996, a North Korean submarine ran aground near the city of Gangneung. The South Korean government says 11 of its soldiers, two police officers and four civilians were subsequently killed pursuing 13 North Koreans who came on shore from the submarine. The North Koreans were all eventually killed, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry. In June 2002, six South Korean naval officers were killed when the two countries' navies fought a battle near the western island of Yeonpyeong. In 2010, North Korea shelled the same island, killing two South Korean marines and two civilians.
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ban on travel to North Korea followed the death of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier, who was jailed during a tour last year. Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for trying to steal a propaganda sign, was returned to the United States in a coma in June and died six days later. The circumstances surrounding his death are not clear, including why he fell into a coma. Warmbier had been detained leaving the airport in Pyongyang. “I was expecting a strict security check on exit but there was nothing like that,” Burkhead said. The State Department declared U.S. passports invalid for travel to, in or through North Korea. The restriction applies for one year unless extended or revoked by the secretary of state. North Korean state media has described the ban as a “sordid” attempt to limit human exchanges. North Korea is currently holding two Korean-American academics and a missionary, as well as three South Korean nationals who were doing missionary work.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit https://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-travel/as-u-s-ban-on-travel-to-north-korea-kicks-in-tourists-say-their-farewells-idUSKCN1BB0UH