North Korea to revive deadly $1b resort ​

Monday - 21/12/2020 12:57
North Korea plans to spend a fortune redeveloping a $1.77 billion resort that was closed down after a tourist was shot dead by troops. Picture: Wikimedia CommonsSource:Supplied
North Korea plans to spend a fortune redeveloping a $1.77 billion resort that was closed down after a tourist was shot dead by troops. Picture: Wikimedia CommonsSource:Supplied
North Korea plans to transform an abandoned mega resort – where a tourist was once shot dead – into a glitzy international holiday destination.

North Korea has revealed it is to spend a fortune redeveloping a $1.77 billion resort that was closed down after a tourist was shot dead by troops.

Kim Jong-un’s regime has vowed to resurrect the Mount Kumgang complex, one a year after he ordered the destruction of South Korean-built hotels on the site.

The eerie ghost town is the closest North Korean settlement to its heavily-fortified border with its old enemy in the South.

The resort – once a prominent symbol of inter-Korean economic co-operation – was built by Hyundai on one of the peninsula’s most scenic mountains.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Mount Kumgang tourist area. Picture: STR/KCNA via KNS/AFP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Mount Kumgang tourist area.
Picture: STR/KCNA via KNS/AFPSource:AFP

 

It became an unlikely tourist hot spot for South Koreans with more than two million flocking there until 2008 to enjoy luxury hotels, a golf course and a spa.

But last year Mr Kim branded the development an eyesore and described facilities there as “shabby” and built like “makeshift tents” in a disaster zone.

North Korea eventually postponed the demolition plans for the site over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

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The Mount Kumgang tourist region is a mountainous area by the coast, close to the South Korean border. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
The Mount Kumgang tourist region is a mountainous area by the coast, close to the South Korean border.
Picture: Wikimedia CommonsSource:Supplied

 

The Premier also said during a visit to the area that Pyongyang wanted to turn it into a “cultural resort envied by the whole world” and a “modern and all-inclusive international tourist resort”.
 

The Mount Kumgang tourist region was briefly a show of co-operation between the North and South.
The Mount Kumgang tourist region was briefly a show of co-operation between the North and South.
Source:News Limited

 

The Mount Kumgang complex was once one of the two biggest inter-Korean projects.

But the murder of a female South Korean tourist in a bloody shooting saw tours to the outpost stopped by worried officials in Seoul.

North Korea later claimed the dead woman, Park Wang-na, had strayed into a military zone after ignoring warning shots from its guards.
 

Kim Jong-un reportedly has big plans for the tourist region. Picture: STR/KCNA via KNS/AFP
Kim Jong-un reportedly has big plans for the tourist region. Picture: STR/KCNA via KNS/AFPSource:AFP

 

The reclusive North has long wanted to resume the lucrative visits, but they would violate international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic weapons programs.

“The Kim regime will struggle to find the resources to redevelop Mount Kumgang and needs outside investment, but is signalling it will downgrade South Korean partners and stakeholders,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

“By holding Seoul’s hopes for engagement at risk, Kim is pressuring the Moon administration (led by South Korean President Moon Jae-in) to find ways of resuming financial benefits for the North.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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 Keywords: North Korea

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