Rise of kim's 'socialist utopia'

World | REUTERS 4 Dec 2019

North Korea has celebrated the completion of leader Kim Jong Un's signature construction project, a new city near the sacred mountain where his family claims its roots, with state media yesterday calling it the "epitome of modern civilization."

A massive celebration involving fireworks was held at the city near Mount Paektu on Monday, the official KCNA news agency said. The Rodong Sinmun, a ruling party mouthpiece, ran photos of Kim cutting a ribbon at the ceremony and buildings covered in snow.

The city named Samjiyon is envisaged as a "socialist utopia" with new apartments, hotels, a ski resort and commercial, cultural and medical facilities.

KCNA said it could accommodate 4,000 families and has 380 blocks of public and industrial buildings.

The city is one of the largest economic initiatives Kim has launched, but its construction was delayed chiefly due to shortages in construction materials and labor as a result of sanctions imposed to curb Pyongyang's nuclear program.

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