Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un has instructed that the “unpleasant-looking” Mount Kumgang facilities built with South Korean money in the North be removed, APA reports citing Sputnik.
“Mount Kumgang is our land won at the cost of blood and even a cliff and a tree on it are associated with our sovereignty and dignity", Kim Jong-un reportedly said during a visit to the resort this week.
North Korea's Chairman Kim insisted that it was a “mistake” to regard the resort as an ordinary property located on North Korean soil, adding the facilities were “reminiscent of temporary buildings at construction sites”.
The news agency then added that orders to demolish the buildings and substitute them with “modern” architecture constructed by Pyongyang have been passed.
The Mount Kumgang tourist resort was built as part of two inter-Korean economic projects, along with the now-closed Kaesong industrial complex, and was heavily funded by South Korean firms Hyundai Asan Corp and Ananti Inc. It's been regarded as a symbol of North-South cooperation, occasionally hosting reunions of families that were separated by the Korean War (1950-1953).
Despite criticising Seoul’s infrastructure efforts, Kim Jong-un who has recently signalled that tourism should be a key factor in his bid for “self-reliant” economic growth, still insisted that tourists from South Korea would be welcomed in the area once it is rebuilt.
“We will always welcome our compatriots from the South if they want to come to Mount Kumgang after it is wonderfully built as a first-class tourist destination", North Korea's leader said.