Archive for the ‘Hoteling’ Category

Evaluation of Kim Jong Un’s first two years: The rise in construction of sports and entertainment facilities and exports to China

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-10-16

The first chairman of the National Defence Commission of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, took office two years ago. Since then, construction of sports and entertainment facilities are reported to have increased considerably. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, North Korea’s Pyongyang Folk Park (September 2012), Taesongsan General Hospital (March 2013), and Haedanghwa Service Complex (April 2013) were recently completed. Since the launch of the Kim Jong Un regime, the Masik Pass Ski Resort and other similar sports facilities have been undertaken and are nearing completion.

In addition, the People’s Theatre (April 2012), Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground (opened in July 2012), Sunrise Restaurant (September 2012), and Unification Street Center (September 2012) have been recently renovated. In addition, the Mirim Riding Club, Pyongyang Gymnasium, Munsu Wading Pool, Aprok (Yalu) River Amusement park, Karma Hotel, and New Day Hotel and other hotels around Pyongyang are currently under renovation and repair. Entertainment and sports facilities around other major cities are being constructed as well. Furthermore, after the successful launch of Kwangmyongsong 3-2 last December, North Korea has begun to construct major residential complexes for scientists, granting them preferential housing in Unha scientist residence, Kim Il Sung University educator residence, and Pyongsong residence. Other large-scale housing projects are also reported to be under development.

In the wake of major celebrations in North Korea — such as the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung and 60-year anniversary of the “Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War” — a large memorial was erected and existing facilities were repaired. Specifically, the Korean People’s Army Exhibition of Arms and Equipment, Kumsusan Memorial Palace, War Victory Monument, and the Cemetery of the Fallen Fighters of the KPA were refurbished.

Unlike the large-scale construction of sports and entertainment facilities, new constructions of harbors, roads, power plants and other social overhead capital (SOC) is reported to be in decline.

Last August, North Korea’s trade with China has shown an 8 percent increase in exports and 6 percent decrease in imports, following a similar trend from last year. According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, North Korea’s current trade volume with China is reported to be 4 billion USD (1.89 billion USD in exports and 2.2 billion USD in imports).

North Korea’s most popular export items are mineral resources such anthracite, coal, and iron ore. In the case of clothing products — which are mostly consigned processing — there has been an increase of 42 percent (200 million USD) against the previous year. Major categories of imports from China are crude oil, food, and fertilizers. Compared to the previous year, food imports have declined 57 percent (17.4 million tons), and fertilizer and crude oil imports are also showing gradual reduction at 27 percent (18.3 million tons) and 6 percent (34.6 million tons), respectively.

Share

Kempinski claims to [not] be taking over management of Ryugyong Hotel

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

UPDATE 1 (2013-3-28): NK News reports that Kempinski has officially pulled out of the deal:

“Kempinski Hotels confirms that KEY International, its joint venture partner in China with Beijing Tourism Group (BTG), had initial discussions to operate a hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, however no agreement has been signed since market entry is not currently possible”, Regional PR Director Hilary Philpott told NK NEWS by email.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-11-1): According to Bloomberg:

The 105-story, pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel, whose foundations were poured almost three decades ago, will open partially in July or August, Kempinski AG Chief Executive Officer Reto Wittwer said today at a forum in Seoul. The German luxury-hotel manager will be the first western hospitality company to operate in North Korea, he said.

“This pyramid monster hotel will monopolize all the business in the city,” Wittwer said. “I said to myself, we have to get this hotel if there is ever a chance, because this will become a money-printing machine if North Korea opens up.”

Kempinski, based in Munich, is handling management while Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE (OTMT) funds the hotel as part of a $400 million mobile-phone license it won from the North Korean government in 2008, he said. Cairo-based Orascom has spent $180 million on completing the hotel’s facade.

The top floors of the hotel will house guests in 150 of the originally planned 1,500 rooms, which “will be developed over time” to remodel the insufficiently designed spaces, Wittwer said. Shops, restaurants, a ballroom and Orascom’s offices on the ground and mezzanine floors will also open next year.

Additional Information:

1. Koryo Tours published the first photos taken inside the building.

2. The Choson Ilbo reports that the South Koreans tried investing in the hotel during the Noh Administration.

Read the full story here:
Kempinski to Operate World’s Tallest Hotel in North Korea
Bloomberg
Sangwon Yoon
2012-11-1

Share

Google Earth and the DPRK: Pyongyang Mosque, Kobangsan, and new hospital

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Pyongyang has a mosque:

Pyongyang-mosque

Pyongyang-mosyue-google-earth

Top: A reader allowed me to post this image (thank you) of a mosque in Pyongyang. Bottom: The Google Earth image of the mosque.

The mosque is located inside the Iranian embassy compound.  This would make it a Shia mosque.  There is not a mosque at either the Egyptian embassy or the Pakistani embassy. I am unsure of the location of the Libyan embassy (do any readers know?) or whether it has a mosque. In the meantime, the DPRK might be the only country with a Shia mosque but not a Sunni mosque.

If the embassy staff are good Muslims, they should allow you to enter the compound to visit the mosque. Just be sure to bring modest clothes, and women, please cover your heads.

Dear Sophie Schmidt:

I just read your web page on travel in the DPRK. I thought I would help you out a bit. Here is the picture you posted of your guesthouse:

Kobansan-guesthouse

This is the Kobangsan (고방산) Guest House and it is located in the eastern suburbs of Pyongyang. Here is a Google Earth satellite image of the place:

Kobansan-google-earth

Here are the Google Earth coordinates:  39.054577°, 125.879205°

Also, you should check out this digital atlas I published of the DPRK. The data is better than Google’s. :)

Taesongsan General Hospital

taesongsan-hospital

This weekend KCNA/KCTV reported on Kim Jong-un’s visit to the newly built Taesongsan General Hospital (대성산종합병원). Pictured above is the Google Earth satellite image of the place. Google Earth coordinates:  39.109678°, 125.911093°. NK Leadership Watch has more information on the Hospital.

Here is the video that appeared on KCTV:

Learn more about the visit here.

Share

The Unification Church in the DPRK

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon was born between what is now Wonbong-ri and Osong-ri in Jongju City (정주시).

 

Pictured above (R) is a satellite image of the exact building the DPRK and the Unification Church claim was the birthplace of Rev. Moon. I first blogged about this  in 2009. The Google Earth coordinates are  39.683728°, 125.291145°, and you can see a ground level photo of the site here (taken by Unification Church delegation).

The Rev. Moon’s Church, the Unification Church, has made substantial investments in the DPRK.

The Unification Church built the Pothonggang Hotel and Pyongyang Peace Embassy (Google Earth:  39.020134°, 125.717641°) in Phyongchon-guyok, Pyongyang:

See photos of the Pothonggang Hotel and Peace Embassy on the Pyeonghwa Motors web page.

The Unification Church also launched Pyeonghwa Motors in the DPRK.

Pyeonghwa Motors was the first firm allowed to put up billboard advertisements in the DPRK. Here are links to images of most of the billboards: Link 1 (Images also say where they are located), Link 2Link 3Link 4Link 5.

Pyeonghwa Motors has several assets in the DPRK, the status of which remains a bit unknown:

There is of course the Pyeonghwa Motors Assembly Factory in Nampho, which I first identified on Google Earth years ago. It has seen some minor expansion between 2009 and 2011:

 

You can see a Pyeonghwa Motors advert here which features the factory:

Pyeonghwa Motors also built a gas/petrol station in Pyongyang:

The Google Earth coordinates are  38.996068°, 125.712410°, and you can see photos of the Pyeonghwa Motors Petrol Station here.

Pyeonghwa Motors also has a showroom on Kwangbok Street in Mangyongdae-guyok:

The Google Earth coordinates are  39.026709°, 125.682252°, and you can see photos of the Pyeonghwa showroom here.

The Pyeonghwa Motors web page also advertises an accessory shop in Pyongyang:

 

The Google Earth coordinates for this shop are  39.039590°, 125.743704°, and you can see photos of the Pyeonghwa Motors Accessories Shop here.

Although this facility is listed as operational on the Pyeonghwa Motors web page, recent tourist video shows that at some point before April 2012 this building has become a humble flower shop (꽃상점):

The shop’s entrance can be seen at the 2:00 mark.

However, according to this photo taken on June 6, 2012, the Peonghwa Motors logo still appears on the top of the building. So I am unsure of the actual status of this facility.

It is unclear if the accessory shop has moved or if it has permanently closed down.

Previous posts on Pyeonghwa Motors here.

If there are any Unification Church assets that I have not mentioned in this post, please let me know.

Read more on the history of the Unification Church in the DPRK here.

Share

Orascom plans to offer mobile Internet service in DPRK

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Via Geoffrey See at Choson Exchange:

On my last trip to Pyongyang, I had the opportunity to catch up with some Egyptian expatriates from Orascom Telecom Holding over popcorn and whiskey. They were also kind enough to bring our team clubbing into the wee hours of morning.

Orascom Holdings is three companies each headed by a different brother of the Orascom family. Orascom Telecoms is headed by Naguib Sawiris, while the resorts arm Orascom Development is run by Samir Sawiris, and the construction arm Orascom Construction by another brother. All three brothers have stakes in different assets in North Korea, with the infamous Ryuggyong Hotel owned by Samih Sawiris. As of May 2010, when I had met Samih Sawiris in Switzerland, he had yet to visit Pyongyang. Recent pictures from Pyongyang indicate that this has changed.

The most exciting development to us was Orascom’s 3G Internet service which was still under the testing phase. The plan is to roll out this service in the near future, although the service will only be available to resident foreigners in the initial phase. Approval for this service to be provided on a larger-scale to North Korean citizens, in any censored form, has yet to be given although the infrastructure to do so is in place. For foreign residents in Pyongyang, the service could offer cost-savings of up to 60-80 percent over current satellite internet offerings. There is no information on what security trade-off such a service might entail.

We also discussed text advertising and the current mobile service business. While text advertising is possible, there has yet to be approval for the company to run such a service. Currently, handsets cost Euro 50 each and there is a monthly subscription fee of 900 Won (we are not sure how this cost scales with usage). For reference, the unofficial exchange rate has fluctuated around 2500 to 3500 Won to 1 Euro this year.

Click here to see previous posts about Orascom and cell phones in the DPRK.

Share

North Korea’s cultural life

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Tania Branigan visited Pyongyang for The Guardian and wrote a long article on North Korean culture.  Most of the information is familiar to long-time DPRK watchers, though there were a few nuggets of information I had not heard before.  I have posted these below:

But who knew that The Da Vinci Code was a hit in this strictly controlled city? That Céline Dion is a karaoke favourite? Or that the mass performances are not only a tribute to the leadership and motherland, but the way that many young people find partners?

Few foreigners see this city at all. Around 2,000 western tourists visited last year, plus perhaps 10 times as many Chinese visitors. The expatriate population, excluding Chinese and Russian diplomats, and including children, stands at 150.

There are certainly signs of change here: Air Koryo has new planes and three gleaming airport buses to ferry passengers from runway to terminal. Last week a vast new theatre opened, as did an apartment complex, although it may be destined for officials. The 105-storey Ryugyong hotel – more than two decades in construction – is finally glass-sheathed and due to open in 2012. That year will mark the 100th birthday of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung. But it is hard to see how it can achieve its pledge to become “a great, powerful and prosperous nation” by then – even given the Stakhanovite industrial efforts lauded in its newspapers.

Pyongyang is lucky: no one is plump, but nor is there noticeable emaciation. Dr Andrei Lankov, associate professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, says the official income in Pyongyang is around 3,000 won a month, but many have ways of making money on the side and – unlike other North Koreans – its residents receive subsistence food rations. Most top those up at markets that are legal though never formally acknowledged (officials insist that “everything is public”). At the turn of the year, the government embarked on currency reforms to eradicate an increasingly independent group of “kiosk capitalists”. But wiping out hard-won savings caused highly unusual public discontent and even, reportedly, unrest.

You can read the full article here:
The cultural life of North Korea
The Guardian
Tania Branigan
10/15/2010

Share

Myanmar military delegation’s visit to DPRK in 2008

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I stumbled on a set of photos taken by a Myanmar military delegation which visited the DPRK to shop for military accessories.  The visit was from Nov 21-28, 2008, but there are no KCNA stories which report on the visit.  I am not sure how the pictures made it out of Myanmar, but I am sure somebody got into trouble (UPDATE: See Tad in the comments).  They have been in the public domain for some time I gather, but I had never seen them until recently.

I received the photo set in PDF format with Burmese captions.  The image resolution was not great.  You can see the original PDF here. I had the photo captions translated and matched up with a publication of the group’s membership and itinerary and I even took the time to locate some (though not all) of the group’s destinations on Google Earth. You can see the photos and translated captions here (PDF). It is a large file, so give it a minute to download.  Apologies for any grammatical mistakes in this document.  There are some small typos which I could not be bothered to fix.  I relied on friends (and friends of friends) for all the translation work, but I believe it is all reasonably accurate.

Surprisingly, many of the stops on the delegation’s visit were typical tourist locations: Myohyangsan, West Sea Barrage, Tower of the Juche Idea, Arch of Triumph, Puhung and Yangwang Metro Stops.  But below I identify some of the more unique shopping destinations.

1. The Myanmar military delegation stayed in a “special hotel” for dignitaries behind Kamsusan Palace.  Previous guests have included the former King of Cambodia.  Below are frontal and satellite images:

myanmar-delegation-hotel.jpg myanmar-delegation-hotel-satellitel.jpg

2. The delegation visited a facility called the “Model of Command Post”  (Command Control System and National Air Defense Command System – PLUTO – 4S).  Judging by the satellite imagery, this is a new facility.

3. Judging from the pictures, the delegation seems to have visited the Pipagot Naval Base near Nampo. The South Koreans allege this base was involved in the sinking of the Cheonan.  We are not given this location in the pictures but we do know that the group was near Nampo at the time and that the pictures and satellite imagery of Pipagot are consistent.

myanmar-delegation-pipagot-1.jpg myanmar-delegation-pipagot-2.jpg myanmar-delegation-pipagot-satellite.jpg

4. I believe that the pictures also confirm the Myanmar delegation visited the Onchon Air Force Base.  Again this is because we know the group was near Nampo, the photos and the satellite imagery of the area are consistent, and in the fourth photo below, the Burmese language caption acknowledges the existence of Onchon’s underground aircraft hangar.

myanmar-delegation-onchon-1.jpg mynamar-delegation-onchon-2.jpg myanmar-delegation-onchon-3.jpg

myanmar-delegation-onchon-4.jpg myanmar-delegation-onchon-satellite-1.jpg myanmar-delegation-onchon-satellite-2.jpg

5. And finally, the photos claim that the delegation visited a number of facilities in a place called “Tackwon”:  A Women’s military unit, AA ammunition factory, anti-tank-laser-beam-guided-missile factory, radar factory, and Igla factory.  This location is is actually Taegwan (Daegwan, 대관) in North Pyongan Province (40°13’10.48″N, 125°13’27.32″E).  Of all the facilities mentioned in the itinerary, the only one from which we have ground-level photographs is the “Women’s Artillery Unit” and the  ”Radar Factory”.

myanmar-taegwan-1.jpg myanmar-taegwan-2.jpg mynamar-taegwan-3.jpg

As of 12/8/2010 the imagery for this location is in high resolution on Google Earth and we can now pinpoint these locations.  The “Women’s Artillery Unit” is located at 40.218949°, 125.231670° and the “Radar Factory” is located at 40.228778°, 125.237964°.  They are pictured on the left- and right-hand sides of the following image:

Share

Kumgang investors on the outs

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

According to the Donga Ilbo:

Ilyeon Investment Chairman Ahn Gyo-shik is nervous over Pyongyang’s latest moves. “I feel helpless since our company is rattled by external conditions, not our management’s ability,” he said.

The North has threatened to seize real estate owned by South Korean businessmen unless they visit North Korea for a land survey by Thursday. Ahn said he will cross the inter-Korean border with staff from the subcontractors of Hyundai Asan Corp. early Thursday morning.

Since launching a tour to Mount Kumgang in 2003, Ahn has built Kumgang Family Beach Hotel and a sashimi restaurant in the North. He has even served as a chairman of the Corporate Conference for South Korean Companies Doing Business at Mount Kumgang, a gathering of Hyundai Asan’s subcontractors.

In an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo yesterday, Ahn said the head of a conference member company recently died of a heart attack due to severe stress from his business in North Korea.

The suspension of the inter-Korean tours caused the late chairman’s company to teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, causing his death at age 55, Ahn said.

Ilyeon’s prospects are no better. Ahn has invested 14.7 billion won (12.9 million U.S. dollars) in his North Korea venture, including 13.4 billion won (11.8 million dollars) to build the hotel and additional facilities.

His company is six billion won (5.3 million dollars) in the red due to the suspension of the Kumgang tour. Its deficit slightly decreased in early 2007, but the killing of a South Korean tourist at Mount Kumgang in July 2008 by a North Korean soldier dealt another serious blow.

Since the shooting, Ilyeon has slashed the number of hotel staff from 119 (including North Korean workers) to three. Over the same period, Ilyeon’s office in South Korea has also downsized from 15 workers to four.

Ilyeon director Kim Rae-hyeon said, “Most member companies of the conference are almost bankrupt but cannot file for bankruptcy since their assets are in North Korea.”

On the North’s land survey Thursday, Ahn said, “Considering precedents and North Korea’s recent moves, Pyongyang is unlikely to make just empty threats. In the worst-case scenario, the North will confiscate assets held by South Korean companies after compensating South Korean investors with part of their investment.”

Worryingly, a Chinese tourist agency has released a six-day tour of both Kaesong and Mount Kumgang. This could encourage the North to deprive South Korean companies of their right to run businesses in the North.

Yang Mu-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said, “North Korea could mention Hyundai Asan’s underpayment of 400 million dollars as grounds to freeze assets held by South Korean companies. The North could also freeze the properties of South Korean companies, force them to recall their staff, annul existing contracts, and sign contracts with new companies.”

Other experts, however, say the North is unlikely to confiscate South Korean companies’ assets or deprive them of their exclusive right to do business.

For Thursday’s survey, Hyundai Asan said yesterday that 52 staff from 33 companies such as Hyundai Asan, its subcontractors, Korea Tourism Organization and Emerson Pacific will make the trip. Forty-eight workers from Hyundai Asan and its subcontractors had applied for their visit.

Shim Sang-jin, in charge of Mount Kumgang affairs for Hyundai Asan, will lead the group. The group will board a bus in Seoul and pass through the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Office in Goseong County, Gangwon Province, around 9:40 a.m. Thursday.

Officials of the tourism organization will head for the North today.

And from the Choson Ilbo:

South Korean officials on Monday duly presented themselves at North Korea’s Mt. Kumgang resort after the North last week threatened to confiscate any real estate held by South Koreans unless they turned up for a survey.   

Three Korea Tourism Organization officials including its Mt. Kumgang branch chief Cha Dong-young went to North Korea through the east coast checkpoint in the afternoon.

Cha claimed the officials “are going to North Korea to conduct our own survey one day before the North’s planned survey” because the KTO has a considerable amount of property in the Mt. Kumgang area. “We’re visiting the North in a cool-headed way. We just hope that tour programs will be normalized as early as possible through dialogue between the two governments,” he added.

North Korea has become increasingly frantic to resume the lucrative tours as hard currency flow dried up amid international sanctions and the fallout from a botched currency reform late last year. Last week’s threat is only the latest in a series of attempts to bully and cajole the South into resuming the tours, which were halted after the fatal shooting of a South Korean tourist in 2008.

The KTO officials and staff from tour operator Hyundai Asan and other South Korean firms will comply with the North’s summons on Thursday. The KTO officials will stay at least until March 31 depending on how long the process takes.

The KTO invested W90 billion (US$1=W1,138) in a cultural hall and a hot spring spa in the tourist area.

“We’ve already handed documents including floor space of facilities and investment amount over to Hyundai Asan for delivery to the North,” Cha said. “We don’t think there’ll be any worst-case scenario, but we’ll find out what the North is up to once we meet North Korean officials.” 

Sixteen staffers of Hyundai Asan and other South Korean firms are to leave Seoul around on Thursday morning and return the same day. 

Yonhap asserts that the DPRK could be laying the groundwork for Chinese operators to take over.  That probably would not be good for Chinese-South Korean relations if they take over seized assets.  Of course if the Chinese bought out the South Koreans then that would be a win-win.

Here is the original story about the assets being seized

Here are older posts on Kumgangsan.

Read the full story here:
NK`s Seizure Threat Rattles S. Korean Investors
Donga Ilbo
3/24/2010

S.Korean Officials Respond to N.Korean Summons
Choson Ilbo
3/25/2010

Share

Orascom completing Ryugyong Hotel

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

UPDATE 8:   According to the BBC, Orascom claims the final plans for the hotel have yet to be approved:

Dozens of Egyptian engineers and some 2,000 local workers are working on the Ryugyong project, which Orascom’s chief operating officer Khaled Bichara tells the BBC is “progressing well”, despite reported problems with suspect concrete and misaligned lift shafts.

“There have been no issues that have caused us too much trouble,” Mr Bichara says. “Most of the work at the moment is coverage of different areas of the building. The first job is to finish the outside – you can’t work on the insides until the outside is covered.

“You can see that we have already completed the top of the building where the revolving restaurant will be. After 2010, that’s when it will be fully safe to start building from the inside.”

How the building will be divided up is not yet finalised the company says, but it will be a mixture of hotel accommodation, apartments and business facilities. Antennae and equipment for Orascom’s mobile network will nestle at the very top.

Mr Bichara denies reports that the company’s exclusive access to North Korea’s fledgling telecoms market is directly linked to the completion of the hotel.

But he says the job is a way of planting a rather tall flag in the ground. “We haven’t been given a deadline, we are not tied into doing it by a certain time,” he said.

“But when you work in a market like this, where we cannot sponsor things, a project of this kind is good to do – it’s word of mouth advertising for us, it builds good rapport with the people – on its own it’s a great symbol, one which cements our investment.”

Read the full article here:
Will ‘Hotel of Doom’ ever be finished?
BBC
10/15/2009

Read previous posts about the Ryugyong’s construction below: (more…)

Share

The new Majon Hotel

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

UPDATE: With a big hat tip to Korea Beat, I have located the new Majon Hotel in North Korea.  See a satellite picture of it here.  Here are some pictures  of the inside c/o the Choson Ilbo.

ORIGINAL POST:

majon.JPG

According to the Choson Ilbo:

North Korea on Monday celebrated the completion of what it has hailed as a “world-class” hotel in the Majon resort area in Hamhung, South Hamgyong Province, North Korean Central Broadcasting reported Tuesday.

The broadcast said the Majon Hotel “is equipped with top-class accommodation and recreation facilities such as an indoor swimming pool, a steam sauna, a public bath, and even a beach resort.”

Although it did not specify the size, the broadcast called the hotel a “creation that illuminates the era of the Korean Workers’ Party,” suggesting it is relatively luxurious.

The completion ceremony was attended by key leaders of the party, the government and the military, including People’s Armed Forces Minister Kim Yong-chun, party Secretaries Kim Ki-nam and Choe Thae-bok, and Prime Minister Kim Yong-il.

In a congratulatory speech, Kim Ki-nam said the hotel was “another proud creation built thanks to leader Kim Jong-il’s love of the people in the military-first era.”

The Majon resort area where the hotel is located is famous throughout North Korea. It has a sandy beach park 6 km long and 50-100 m wide along the east coast and 16 recreational buildings, 13 public buildings, and a boy scout camp — all on an area measuring some 3 million sq. m.

Here is the official KCNA press coverage:

Majon Hotel Completed

Pyongyang, July 28 (KCNA) — Modern Majon Hotel sprang up at the Majon recreation ground in Hamhung City, a good destination of holiday makers.

The hotel has all modern cultural and welfare facilities such as bedrooms of various sizes and styles, restaurants, indoor swimming pool, saunas and bath facilities. It has also a bathing resort. This is another edifice to be proud of in the era of Songun, a product of General Secretary Kim Jong Il’s love for the people as he has always worked hard to provide people with better conditions for their recreation.

A ceremony for the completion of the hotel was held on the spot on Monday.

Present there were Premier Kim Yong Il, Minister of the People’s Armed Forces Kim Yong Chun, Secretaries of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Choe Thae Bok and Kim Ki Nam, department directors of the C.C., WPK, officials concerned and employees of the hotel.

Kim Ki Nam in his speech at the ceremony underscored the need for the staff of the hotel to steadily improve the service so that Kim Jong Il’s boundless love may reach people as quickly as possible.

At the end of the ceremony the participants looked round the interior and exterior of the hotel.

Here is the location of the beach.  Some travelers have been there, but photos of the area remain scarce.  If anyone comes across a photo of the hotel, or can identify the exact location, please let me know.  Parts of the beach and surroundings are still not in high resolution on Google Earth, so this also complicates the discovery of the hotel’s location.

Read the full stories here:
N.Korea Completes ‘Luxury’ Resort Hotel
Choson Ilbo
7/29/2009

KCNA

Share