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Kim Vows to Raze, Rebuild S. Korea-Built Resort

He didn't like the 'unpleasant-looking' facilities at Kumgang
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2019 7:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – With an estimated 11 million people in North Korea not getting enough food, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has decided to focus instead on matters of architecture—South Korean architecture in North Korea, to be precise. According to state media, Kim recently toured the Mount Kumgang tourist spot, built by South Korean companies in the 1990s as part of a joint project, and was appalled by the "backward" and "shabby" facilities, Reuters reports. According to North Korea's KCNA news agency, Kim likened the "unpleasant-looking" facilities to "makeshift tents in a disaster-stricken area or isolation wards" and called for them to be razed. The resort was once seen as an example of inter-Korean cooperation, and his remarks were seen as a sign that relations are continuing to go downhill.

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Kim ordered the building of "new modern service facilities our own way that go well with the natural scenery," according to KCNA. The agency says he also criticized the "very wrong, dependent policy of the predecessors"—which would be his father, Kim Jong Il—for allowing South Korea to build the facilities, letting the North "rely on others when the country was not strong enough." Kim added, however, that South Korean visitors would be welcome to visit Kumgang "after it is wonderfully built as the world-level tourist destination." The Guardian notes that President Trump described Kumgang as an "unbelievable location" earlier this year. (South Korean tours were suspended after soldiers killed a tourist in 2008.)

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