This is the sorrow state of ‘North Korea’s Benidorm’ that was supposed to be a game changer for tourism.
There are rows and rows of unfinished, derelict hotels near the eastern port city of Wonsan after construction work was abandoned during the pandemic.
Tourists were expected to flock to the beach resort for the summer, but according to locals, it is now filled with poo and overtaken by the homeless.
‘The buildings are no different from toilets, with bowel movements left behind by the kkotjebi everywhere,’ one person told Daily NK, a newspaper based in South Korea.
A source in the Kangwon Province, of which Wonsan is a part, added: ‘Buildings without doors have become gathering points for kkotjebi, and now they are full of human waste and soot from fires.
‘And who’s going to clean all that up? Ultimately, the people of Kangwon Province will be mobilised.
‘Labour and money will be wasted on a project when nobody knows when it will open or if tourists will actually come.’
It is believed the resort got its western name after Kim Jong Un reportedly sent a fact-finding mission to Spain’s Costa Blanca in 2017.
But the dictator’s deadline for completion was too ambitious, slipping from April to October 2019, and then again to April 2020 before work finally ground to a halt during the pandemic.
Photos from April 2019 show him inspecting the resort, walking past the high-rise hotels.
North Korea expert Jacob Bogle, who has created a comprehensive map of the country from satellite photos, said: ‘Construction at the Wonsan Beach Resort has been stalled since mid-2020.
‘All of the hotels and other buildings have been constructed, but work on finishing the exteriors – windows, paint, lighting – and interiors is nowhere near completed.’
He continued: ‘The resort was constructed alongside the dual-use (civilian-military) Wonsan Airbase.
‘The main entrance to the resort would require anyone to pass in clear view of the base and that would make hiding difficult.
‘However, there is a second entrance to the south, where all of the temporary workers’ housing and workshops are located.
‘It is conceivable that homeless people have begun to take up residence in those huts, and from there, entering into one of the numerous hotel buildings would be fairly easy.’
According to Daily NK, the regime approached builders in late January asking what equipment, supplies and manpower they would need to finish the job.
But Mr Bogle stressed there is no proof yet of a final push to complete the resort.
‘There is no indication that construction will resume soon,’ he said.
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