October 16, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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North Korea wants to redevelop iconic tourist resort

North Korea wants to redevelop iconic tourist resort

Pyongyang plans to turn Mount Kumgong’s popular tourist destination into an international tourist resort, North Korea’s official news agency announced Sunday, a year after the demolition was ordered by South Korean-built buildings leader Kim Jong Un.

Considered a symbol of economic cooperation between the two Koreas, the set was built by Hyundai Assan, a subsidiary of the South Korean group Hyundai.

Aiming to attract millions of South Korean tourists to the Mount Kumgong Resort, its name “Diamond Mountain” is considered one of the most beautiful places on the peninsula.

Last year, during inter-Korean tensions, Mr Kim ordered the destruction of “shabby” installations built by the South, particularly comparing them to “lucky tents set up in a disaster area.”

According to the KCNA news agency, North Korean Prime Minister Kim Tok Hoon visited the site and stressed the need to “rebuild the resort in our own way” to turn it into an enviable tourist resort.

The Prime Minister called for turning the place into a “modern tourist resort of international perspective”.

The tourism complex is one of two important Korean projects with the Kaisong Industrial Complex closed since 2016, in which South Korean companies use labor from the north.

Mount Kumgong, near the inter-Korean border, was a tourist destination for South Koreans, until 2008 when a North Korean soldier shot and killed a woman far from areas of authority. Seoul has suspended visits ever since.

North Korea has long wanted to restart this lucrative business, but now Pyongyang is violating international economic sanctions imposed on its nuclear and missile program.

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In June, Pyongyang demolished its inter-Korean liaison office in the mud and was funded by Seoul, one of the confinement symbols on the peninsula, saying it was not interested in negotiating.

“The Mr Kim regime is struggling to find the resources needed to redevelop Mount Kumgong and requires external investment, but this means less importance to its South Korean partners,” said Leaf-Eric Isley, a professor at Eva University in Seoul.

For him, it was a way for Mr. Kim to put pressure on the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to reconnect with the economic downturn in the South.