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Monday, December 09, 2019, 15:04
DPRK opens new mountain resort amid tourism drive
By Associated Press
Monday, December 09, 2019, 15:04 By Associated Press

In this Dec 7, 2019 photo provided by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's government, DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, center, cuts the ribbon during a ceremonial opening of the Yangdok Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Center in DPRK's South Pyongan province. (PHOTO / KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE VIA AP)

SEOUL — The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-un opened a new mountain spa and ski resort that's intended for people to enjoy “high civilization under socialism” in another example of the country using tourism exemptions in international sanctions to build revenue for its broken economy.

Kim praised his soldiers for creating a “miracle and prefect edifice” that serves the ruling party’s efforts to guide people to modern civilization, according to a state media report

Kim cut the ribbon during the ceremonial opening of the Yangdok Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Center and praised his soldiers for creating a “miracle and prefect edifice” that serves the ruling party’s efforts to guide people to modern civilization, according to a state media report.

DPRK’s state TV showed aerial footage of the resort, including its red-roofed hotels, hot spring spas, ski slope and horse-riding park.

The broadcast showed thousands of soldiers and flag-waving civilians and children welcoming Kim at the site, which he visited at least four times this year, according to state media. He smiled as he toured the facilities, which included a solo chairlift ride above the ski slope.

“(Kim) hardly repressed his happiness, saying that it has become possible to provide people with new culture, and one more plan of the Party to make our people enjoy high civilization under socialism as early as possible has come true,” Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said.

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The Yangdok resort, which the DPRK began building last year, has been one of Kim’s major development projects along with another mountain resort recently completed in the town of Samjiyon and a summer resort being built in the coastal town of Wonsan.

This undated photo provided on Dec 9, 2019 by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's government shows the Yangdok Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Center in DPRK's South Pyongan province. (PHOTO / KOREAN CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY / KOREA NEWS SERVICE VIA AP)

The DPRK also last week announced the creation of a company dedicated to creating medical tourism services to foreign visitors at the country’s hot spring spas and state-run hospitals, where they will be able to receive cataract surgeries, dental implants and breast tumor treatments.

The DPRK has also demanded the Republic of Korea to tear down its hotels and other facilities at DPRK’s Diamond Mountain resort after Kim declared that the DPRK would redevelop the site on its own. The announcement came after months of frustration over ROK’s unwillingness to defy US-led sanctions and restart ROK tours to the resort, which was suspended in 2008 after a DPRK guard fatally shot a ROK tourist.

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Tourism is excluded from the heavy sanctions the UN Security Council has imposed on the DPRK over its nuclear weapons program, which includes a full ban on key exports like coal, textile and seafood, strict limitations on oil imports. The sanctions also require all UN members to repatriate all DPRK laborers based in their countries by December.


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