North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un has set out his vision for a coastal tourist paradise which he wants to be ready for autumn 2019.
The project is to be built at Wonsan-Kalma, a large development on the east coast of the Hermit Country – and Kim Jong-un has been pictured overseeing construction.
In all the images, released by Pyongyang’s official news agency, KCNA, the leader is shown to be relaxed as he laughs and jokes with officials, dressed in a white shirt and grey trousers.
Other images show him to be giving orders and examining the development. In many of the photos, he is holding a cigarette in his hand.
The resort is due to be completed by 10 October next year, an important day in North Korea’s calendar.
The public holiday marks the founding of a precursor to the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
Kim Jong-un intends to demolish the existing buildings at the centre of Wonsam-Kalma – a city of 360,000 – and replace them with five-star skyscraper hotels and department stores.
The dictator was shown a hotel, lodging quarters with cooking facilities and service buildings, the news agency said.
He gave instructions regarding construction “and ensured that the connection between buildings is more harmonious and peculiar, so as to polish the overall street layout in an artistic way (sic),” KCNA reported.
Kim also demanded trees “of good species” be planted to make the area greener and first aid stations be established on the shore.
He also encouraged the use of artificial ponds, adding that “the people will be pleased if angling sites and service facilities were placed around” them.
“It is the Party’s long-cherished idea and his long-desired job to build wonderful recreational resorts on the scenic and beautiful shores of our country to let the people enjoy themselves to the full,” he said.
While the leader carried out his visit he criticised international sanctions on the country.
He blamed what he called “hostile forces” for “trying to stifle the Korean people through brigandish sanctions and blockade.”
He added that “if such a magnificent project of large scale is completed surpassing the world’s advanced level at such a difficult time as now, the strength of the single-minded unity of the Party, army and people will be displayed to the whole world once again and the coastal tourist area will be a very nice gift to our people (sic).”
This week North Korea froze all tourist visa applications that are underway until 9 September, tour company Kyoryo Tours revealed.
The move comes after visits by Chinese tourists were suspended by North Korea capital Pyongyang.
The reason for the suspension of tourist visas is as yet unknown, Kyoryo Tours have said in a statement.
One explanation is that North Korea is preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as the country is officially known.
Kyoryo Tours said: “This suggests to us that this is an issue with the general capacity of the country to receive visitors in September, and, as various high-level state delegations are expected to go to Pyongyang in September, that a higher power in the country is simply pressing pause on tourism until it is clear to them who is coming in such delegations and how many people.”