N.K. leader inspects construction site of key coastal tourist zone


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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has made his second inspection of the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma tourist area on the east coast in five months, state media said Saturday.

The visit marked his second “field guidance” of economy-related facilities this year following the breakdown of the Hanoi summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.
    


Kim stressed large-scale construction like the tourist zone should “never be carried out in a slipshod manner,” according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
    
In that sense, he gave a fresh order to extend the construction by six months and complete it by April 15, 2020, the birthday of late state founder and his grandfather Kim Il-sung.
    
Last year, he instructed officials to finish the construction by Oct. 10, 2019, the founding anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
    
During his tour to the zone in November, he denounced international sanctions on his country, blasting “hostile forces” for attempting to hamper its efforts to improve the lives of its people.
    
But Kim did not make any reference to sanctions this time, in an apparent bid to gauge the situation following the summit breakdown.
    
Denuclearization talks have stalled since Kim and Trump ended their summit without any agreement in February due to differences on the scope of the North’s denuclearization steps and sanctions relief by Washington.
    
The United States said it remains open to dialogue with North Korea despite the summit breakdown, and will seek denuclearization talks while maintaining pressure and sanctions on the North.
    
The KCNA said in a separate report that the North’s leader also has visited the construction site of the Onchon tourist area in the country’s central-western province.
    
The series of visits by Kim to economy-related facilities may indicate that he will likely focus on boosting the economy ahead of a key parliamentary meeting set for Thursday.
    
At a plenary meeting with party officials in April last year, North Korea made a surprise announcement that it will suspend nuclear and missile tests, and shut down its atomic test site, a decision to effectively ditch its signature policy of simultaneously pursuing nuclear and economic developments. (Yonhap)


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