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Recently, Pyongyang’s been busy with building new apartment buildings and other high-rise buildings.
According to a Japanese news media, there are 14 building projects in process for high rise buildings of 14~45 stories. “Approximately 20,000 people are mobilized to work in rotating shifts,” and the buildings are adding a new floor every 2 days, to finish up the whole project by March.
Besides these high-rises, North Korea is also building theaters, department stores, and an aquarium. Quoting North Korea’s Central News Media regarding an aquarium with dolphins : “The Dolphin Hall will have a thousand seats to show off the talents of our dolphins.”
North Korean government is calling this building project “The New Pyongyang Speed Battle”, referring to the reconstruction project that took place after the Korean War. However, American experts are calling this movement “a show-only project for their Great Nation project.” (North Korea has picked the year of 2012 as their year to become a ‘great nation’ of prosperity and whatnot) Experts agree that this building project is similar to what the Soviet Union did back in the day, building fake propaganda villages for advertising purposes.
Dr. Hazel Smith, an expert on North Korean affairs, claimed that the general appearance of Pyongyang has improved a little, but the general welfare of North Korean citizens has not improved.
Asia Press has released a video of Pyongyang soldiers and riot squads being thrown into the construction sites to work chaotically. The video also showed regular citizens of Pyongyang in the back alley eating noodles and what they described as ‘an artificial meat’.
Despite their ambitious goal to become a powerful nation, North Korea’s economic/social downfall has been continuing. In fact, the food crisis that began in the 90s still continues today. According to WFP, over 6 million people, or 30% of the entire population, is eating only 300 grams (0.67 lbs) of food a day. North Korea’s overall economy is actually shrinking, too. In 2009, North Korea had a negative growth rate of 0.9%, and another negative growth rate of 0.5% last year.
Source : 미 전문가 “평양은 북한판 포템킨 마을”