November 08, 2018 12:38
North Korea plans to build the largest water park in Asia at the scenic Mt. Kumgang resort with foreign investment even as severe food shortages loom amid international sanctions.
North Korea's Kumgangsan International Travel Agency posted an investors' guide on its website detailing plans for the water park. According to the guide, the water park will cover 200,000 sq.m in Kosong, Kangwon Province, making it the biggest in Asia. The idea is to operate it as a joint venture for 10 years, and the travel agency claims construction will only take six months.
The agency also said there will be an exhibition center for products from the Mt. Kumgang region as well as a hospital and 700-room hotel.
The North is desperate for foreign investment to develop its tourism industry and recently opened a website detailing 14 projects involving a hotel, a power generation facility, railways, restaurants and other services in Wonsan.
The North apparently hopes to cushion some of the effects of the sanctions, which ban imports of materials and cash but not tourism itself.
This is probably why North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently visited the Samjiyon area as well looking out masterfully over deserted beaches in Wonsan and Kalma, which are being eyed as tourism destinations.
UN Security Council resolutions prohibit the establishment of any joint ventures with North Korean groups or individuals, so the water park is currently a castle in the air.
Cho Young-gi at Kookmin University said North Korea "appears to be preparing ahead for an easing of sanctions. This may also be a form of pressure on the South Korean government to invest money."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com