SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – A senior North Korean official visited a hill station that had been collectively managed with rival South Korea in a previous reconciliation and mentioned efforts to unilaterally rebuild it into “one. cultural resort envied by the entire world, ”media reported on Sunday.
Some consultants say North Korea may stress South Korea for financial engagement because the pandemic worsens North Korea’s financial woes.
On a visit to Diamond Mountain Resort, Prime Minister Kim Tok Hun “harassed the necessity to construct the vacationer space our method, through which nationwide character and modernity are mixed whereas being in good concord with the pure panorama, ”the Korean Central Information Company reported.
Kim mentioned North Korea’s aim is to make the mountainous area “one well-known for serving the folks and a cultural resort envied by the entire world.” He and different officers mentioned the design and development of a “world class resort, golf course, ski subject,” in keeping with KCNA.
North Korea had a joint mountain touring program with South Korea for about 10 years earlier than being suspended following the taking pictures dying of a South Korean vacationer in 2008. About 2 million South Korean vacationers had visited the resort, a scarce supply of overseas forex for the impoverished North.
When relations have improved in recent times, the 2 Koreas have pushed to relaunch caught joint financial initiatives, together with visits to Diamond Mountain. However Seoul was in the end unable to take action with out defying punitive UN sanctions imposed on the North’s nuclear program.
Late final 12 months, an offended North Korea lobbied for the destruction of lodges and different South Korean manufacturing services within the advanced and demanded that South Korea ship employees to the location for cleansing buildings. North Korean chief Kim Jong Un referred to as the South Korean services “awful” and “disagreeable in look.”
However in January, North Korea postponed demolition plans over issues in regards to the unfold of the coronavirus.
North Korea mentioned it had discovered no circumstances of the virus, a declare disputed by many exterior consultants. A serious epidemic in North Korea may have devastating penalties as its healthcare system stays fragile. The pandemic additionally hit the northern economic system onerous, together with UN sanctions and a collection of pure disasters this summer time.
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha College in Seoul, mentioned the timing of Sunday’s North Korean assertion was much less about tourism than political stress. “By jeopardizing Seoul’s hopes for engagement,” North Korea is pressuring South Korea “to search out methods to reclaim the monetary advantages for the North,” he mentioned.
Earlier than the pandemic, North Korea welcomed Chinese language vacationers to the resort. However consultants doubt that he can redevelop and switch the area into a significant vacationer spot with out South Korea’s cooperation.
The resort is positioned simply north of the Inter-Korean border and a whole lot of kilometers (miles) from the northern border with China. North Korea’s poor transport hyperlinks make it troublesome to carry giant numbers of Chinese language vacationers there.