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North Korea angry at Swiss block on ski lift deal

North Korea reacted angrily on Saturday to Switzerland's decision to block a deal to sell it ski lift equipment that would be used for a resort under construction for the ruling elite.

North Korea armistice parade Enlarge
North Koreans wave flags and walk with statues of former leaders Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il during a military parade past Kim Il-Sung square marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean war armistice in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea reacted angrily on Saturday to Switzerland's decision to block a deal to sell it ski lift equipment that would be used for a resort under construction for the ruling elite.

The Swiss government said the equipment it was to provide for the Masik ski resort, including chair lifts and cable cars, was deemed luxury goods, making it subject to UN sanctions.

North Korea's Skiers' Association, on the other hand, said the equipment should not be band because the resort's aim was to give North Koreans "highly civilized and happy living conditions and make them enjoy all blessings."

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"Cableway equipment for the ski resort do not produce any rocket or nuclear weapon," it added in its statement.

"This is a wanton violation of the UN Charter clarifying that sanctions should not impose sufferings and damage on the peaceful existence and activities of mankind and the people in relevant countries."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attended secondary school under an assumed name in the Swiss capital of Bern, where he reportedly enjoyed skiing in the Alps. The Masik ski resort is said to be a pet project of his and is also being viewed as a response to South Korea winning the bid to host the Olympics in 2018.

While heavy rains and landslides have slowed construction of the resort — which will include 70 miles of multi-level ski runs, a hotel, heliport and cable cars —the head of the reclusive nation wants it completed by the end of the year.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/north-korea/130824/north-korea-angry-at-swiss-block-ski-lift-deal