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N. Korea calls for U.S. investment in building int’l tourist destination

N. Korea calls for U.S. investment in building int’l tourist destination

Posted June. 05, 2018 08:48,   

Updated June. 05, 2018 08:48


Kim Yong Chol, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un’s top aide and special envoy, reportedly called on the United States to support a plan to build a world-class resort in the eastern port city of Wonsan in a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump. He is also reported to have explored a possible step-by-step lifting of international sanctions against the regime in return for their denuclearization efforts. In respect of what North Korea could take, the North Korean envoy is known to have delivered a message that Kim Jong Un is determined to achieve the complete nuclear disarmament in a speedy manner, setting the stage for the historic June 12 summit in Singapore. There are speculations that the two sides have been closely working on coordinating issues in detail and narrowing their differences.

In his meeting with Trump at the White House, Kim Yong Chol said of North Korea’s plan to create an international tourist destination with a casino in Wonsan and ski resort in Masikryong, said a diplomatic source familiar with the matter. The Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area is known as one of the key projects that the North Korean leader laid out in his New Year’s address. The tourist area, if constructed, will be able to generate about 50 million U.S. dollars a year, according to the South Korean government’s estimation. This would be quite a contribution to the rogue nation’s economy given that its annual trade volume stands at mere 7 billion dollars.

Having faced with sanctions severe than ever, the North has seen its major source of income such as exporting coals and sending workers abroad significantly down. The massive construction plan is interpreted as the regime’s decision to overcome economic hardship and isolation through promoting its tourism industry.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com · Dong-Yeon Jung call@donga.com