Kim Jong Un orders demolition of 'shabby' South Korean-made buildings at North’s tourist site

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The facilities South Korea built at a tourist site in the North look “like makeshift tents in a disaster-stricken area” and should be replaced by a series of “modern” buildings, Kim Jong Un said Wednesday.

He made the comments after touring the Mount Kumgang resort, an economic project constructed with the help of South Korea following the Korean War.

South Koreans started visiting the resort in 1998, but were ordered by their government to halt their travels a decade later after a female tourist was gunned down by one of the North’s soldiers for apparently walking into a military zone, The Guardian reported.

“Learning in detail about the service facilities in the tourist area, he said that the buildings are just a hotchpotch with no national character at all, and that they were built like makeshift tents in a disaster-stricken area or isolation wards,” the state-run KCNA news agency quoted Kim Jong Un as saying about the South Korean-made structures. “He added they are not only very backward in terms of architecture but look so shabby as they are not taken proper care of.”

In this undated photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Diamond Mountain resort in Kumgang, North Korea.
In this undated photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Diamond Mountain resort in Kumgang, North Korea.

Kim Jong Un described Mount Kumgang as “our land, won at the cost of blood; and even a cliff and a tree there are associated with our sovereignty and dignity.”

“He called for removing all the unpleasant-looking facilities of the south side… and building new modern service facilities our own way that go well with the natural scenery of Mount Kumgang,” it added.

Since the tourism ban in 2008, the resort has hosted some reunions of families separated by the Korean War — but any attempt by the South to further invest in it would be in violation of international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

The resort drew only a fraction of the 500,000 tourists projected to come annually and has lost millions of dollars for South Korean investors.

In this 2011 file photo, South Korean invested villas line the coastline of the Mount Kumgang resort, also known as Diamond Mountain, in North Korea. (AP)
In this 2011 file photo, South Korean invested villas line the coastline of the Mount Kumgang resort, also known as Diamond Mountain, in North Korea. (AP)

South Korean officials on Wednesday held back direct criticism on Kim's remarks, saying they need to take a closer look at the North's intent.

Lee Sang-min, spokesman of Seoul's Unification Ministry, said the South will "actively defend the property rights of our people" and plans to accept any proposed talks with North Korea over the facilities, according to the Associated Press. He didn't offer a specific answer when asked whether the South could do anything to stop the North if it begins to tear down the facilities unilaterally.

The criticism from North Korea about the resort also comes as the U.N. is raising concerns about the availability of food in the Hermit Kingdom.

In this 2011 file photo, a South Korean invested gas station appears deserted in the Mount Kumgang resort.
In this 2011 file photo, a South Korean invested gas station appears deserted in the Mount Kumgang resort.

"The country's economic resources are being diverted away from the essential needs of the people," Tomas Ojea Quintana, the body’s independent investigator on human rights, reportedly told the general assembly’s human rights committee Tuesday.

Quintana said 140,000 children in North Korea are estimated to be suffering from poor nutrition, 30,000 of which are facing an “increased risk of death,” according to Al Jazeera. Nearly half of the country’s population of 11 million people are estimated to be undernourished, he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


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Reuters › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said South Korean facilities in the Mount Kumgang tourist resort must be removed by agreement with South Korean authorities, and rebuilt in a modern way by North Korean methods, North Korean state news agency KCNA said...
Telegraph › 0 month ago
Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has ordered the destruction of all facilities built by South Korea at the Mount Kumgang tourist zone, apparently because of Seoul’s refusal to break ranks with the United States.
The New York Times › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels, and other tourist facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort, apparently because Seoul won't defy international sanctions and resume South Korean tours at...
Washington Times › Traveling › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels, and other tourist facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort, apparently because Seoul won't defy international sanctions and resume South Korean tours at...
Chicago Tribune › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels and other tourist facilities at the North’s Diamond Mountain resort, apparently because Seoul won’t defy international sanctions and resume South Korean tours at...
The New York Times › 3 weeks ago
South Korea says North Korea formally proposed talks over the possible demolition of South Korean-made hotels and other tourist facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort, which leader Kim Jong Un called "shabby" and "unpleasant-looking."
The New York Times › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said South Korea's "backward" and "shabby" facilities at the North's Mt Kumgang resort must be removed and rebuilt in a modern way, state media reported on Wednesday, in the latest sign of cooling relations between the...
One America News Network › 0 month ago
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said South Korean facilities in the Mount Kumgang tourist resort must be removed by agreement with South Korean authorities, and rebuilt in a modern
ABC News › Traveling › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the destruction of South Korean-made tourist facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort, apparently because Seoul won't defy sanctions and resume tours there
New York Daily News › 0 month ago
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered the destruction of South Korean-made hotels, and other tourist facilities at the North's Diamond Mountain resort,
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