North Korea's ski-field miracleby Toby Manhire
The purchase of Swiss equipment has been blocked, but Kim Jong-un's spirit is indomitable.
“Snow fever” has gripped North Korea. Or it’s gripped Kim Jong-un, at least.
The dictator, who spent many of his teenage years in Switzerland, is desperate to bring skiing to the masses, explains the Swiss daily Le Temps, in the form of a “top-of-the-heap ski field, inspired by the most spectacular Swiss ski resorts”.
The only trouble is that a deal to purchase a chairlift and other equipment from a Swiss manufacturer has been blocked by authorities who say that sanctions against Pyongyang cover “luxury sporting goods”.
No mention of that snag, however, at the official Korea Central News Agency, where the ambition remains undimmed.
Where others might take a decade to build the Masik Pass Skiing Ground, reports the agency, this “gigantic patriotic work” would be completed within a year thanks to the army construction squads “waging an all out charge and death defying drive as intended by the Worker’s Party of Korea”.
How? “By dint of indomitable mental power and persevering charge”, it explains.
Fortunately, Kim Jong-un himself is on hand to “give instructions on how to properly build a drainage system” and to offer advice on “taking measure for the production of skis and other winter sports apparatuses”.
An enthusiastic write-up in the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun remarks on the “miracle” of the construction, the fruit of “world startling labour feats”.
The soldiers constructing the field were “ready to flatten any mountain and empty even a sea in response to an order or instruction of the party”.
The ski resort is a monumental edifice of eternal value to be used by the people even in the distant future, while enjoying wealth and prosperity under socialism, and it is also one of the icons of a highly civilized nation, he said, underscoring the need for the builders to ensure the construction at the highest level so that they may be responsible for its safety and guarantee its absolute quality for all eternity.
He called on the builders to construct a world-class ski resort and provide the people, youth and children with a more civilized and happier living conditions so that cheerful laughter under socialism and loud shouts of hurrah for the WPK may be heard from the area of Masik Pass.