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N. Korean leader orders officials to quickly open ski resort

2013/12/31 10:50

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has instructed officials to quickly open a ski resort to ensure people can fully enjoy skiing, Pyongyang's state media reported Tuesday.

Kim, who studied in Switzerland and is believed to have skied in the Alps, expressed satisfaction that "everything is impeccable" in the Masik ski resort, the Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch.

Kim "instructed officials to hold an opening ceremony as early as possible so that people can fully enjoy skiing," according to the dispatch.

Kim made the comment during his inspection trip to the ski resort that was recently built near the North's east coast city of Wonsan.

Still, he did not give a specific time frame for opening the lavish ski resort, touted as one of Kim's pet projects.

Kim Yong-il, a senior official at the North's General Bureau of Tourism, told Chinese media in October that the Masik ski resort will begin formal operations in January and be open to domestic and foreign tourists.

South Korea's spy agency has told lawmakers that North Korea has "wasted" US$300 million to build leisure and sports facilities, including the ski resort, despite chronic food shortages.

North Korea's total food production is estimated to have been at about 5.03 million metric tons in 2013, about a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

Still, the food security situation is still unsatisfactory, with 84 percent of households having borderline or poor food consumption, the World Food Program, the U.N. food agency, said in a report posted on its website.

entropy@yna.co.kr

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