Go to contents

Chinese Diplomat Notes Changes in Pyongyang Life

Posted May. 14, 2009 08:11,   


A diplomat with the Chinese Embassy in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang wrote, “Pyongyang drew global attention with its unique measures in April,” on the Web site of China’s Foreign Ministry.

In his article "Spring of North Korea," Kung Guoxi said Pyongyang was in a festive mood last month since it held a series of commemorable events.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was reelected April 9, his late father Kim Il Sung’s birthday was April 15, and the day when Kim Jong Il was given the title of head of state fell on April 20. April 21 was the birthday of Kim Il Sung’s mother and April 25 was the 60th anniversary of the (North) Korean People’s Army.

Fifty-two art troupes from 24 nations including the U.S., China, Russia, Cuba and Italy visited Pyongyang to participate in the 26th April Spring Friendship Art Festival April 10-18.

Kung also said placards saying "Self-defense, Peace and Friendship" and "Spring in April" were found at every corner of Pyongyang. He said Pyongyang resumed the construction of the 101-story Ryukyong Hotel after a suspension of several years and finished work on the exterior of one side.

Kung said he was impressed with imported cars running on Pyongyang streets. When he first arrived in the North Korean capital in 2002, he said he could hardly find imported cars.

Now, he said he sees not only Mercedes Benzes and BMWs but also the sport utility vehicle Hummer. As the number of cars has jumped, heavy traffic has appeared on narrow roads.

Trams link Pyongyang’s major subway stations and apartment complexes. North Koreans also use cell phones and many even subscribe to the third-generation mobile communications service.

According to the Chinese diplomat, a spectator made a call with his cell phone and carried the news live to the recipient in a stadium where the North Korean soccer team played a foreign squad. A pizzeria that recently opened on Kwangbok Street in Pyongyang sells pizzas whose ingredients are imported from Italy.