Kim Jong-un has ordered the North Korean military to build him a “world class” ski resort good enough to compete with the one South Korea is building in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics Games, The Telegraph reports.
“Kim recently visited the location of the Masik Pass Skiing Ground to give ‘on the spot field guidance’ on the construction of the resort, which will have beginner, intermediate and advanced-level routes on more than 68 miles of mountainside,” the report notes.
“The highest peak in the mountains around the site rises more than 4,400 feet above sea level,” the report adds.
Wait, “on the spot guidance”? Does Kim actually know anything about construction or will he just stand there and point at things (something his father was particularly good at)?
Anyway, regardless of Kim’s architectural abilities, the KCNA state media reports that the country’s leader is pulling out all the stops on his shiny new ski resort: It will have a hotel, cable cars, equipment stores, and a heliport.
"[Kim] mounted an observation deck to hear a detailed report on the construction of the skiing ground," the report said.
"He was greatly satisfied to learn that soldier-builders have constructed a skiing area on mountain ranges covering hundreds of thousands of square metres."
Kim is quoted as having said that it would be "more fantastic" to see the resort area covered with snow -- so he has ordered his builders to double their pace in order to have the resort up and running by winter.
“The site also benefits from its proximity to the Pyongyang-Wonsan motorway, while a nearby military airfield might be turned into an airport to handle an anticipated surge in tourists,” The Telegraph notes.
Kim is confident that his winter wonderland is a great idea.
"A skiing wave will seize the country,” KCNA quoted him as saying.
“The North Korean leader also ordered the domestic production of skiing equipment and clothing as sanctions imposed on the regime by the United Nations in the wake of Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes forbid imports of luxury goods,” the report notes.
Kim’s interest in skiing may not be so sudden. After all, he did spend a few years attending international schools near the Swiss city of Berne. Plus, the Kim family reportedly hosted holidays at the mountain resort town of Interlaken. So maybe this is Kim fulfilling some long-standing secret dream.
Then again, as The Telegraph notes, the skiing facility may also have been “motivated by the South Korean city of Pyeongchang emerging in 2011 as the host of the 2018 Winter Olypmics.”
“When South Korea was named as the joint host of the 2002 World Cup with Japan, the North immediately went on a public relations offensive and opened its borders to permit foreign visitors to attend the choreographed manoeuvres of thousands of citizens taking place in the Arirang Festival,” the report notes.
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Featured image courtesy the North's KCNA.