N. Korea to complete lavish ski resort late next month

BEIJING, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is set to complete construction of a lavish ski resort, touted as one of its young leader Kim Jong-un's pet projects, in late November and will formally open it next January, China's state media reported Saturday.

The Masik ski resort, located near the North's east coast city of Wonsan, has been under construction since earlier this year.

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers this week that the North Korean regime has "wasted" US$300 million to build leisure and sports facilities, including the ski resort, despite chronic food shortages.

Kim Yong-il, a senior official at the North's General Bureau of Tourism, told the official China News Service that, "Basic facilities have been already set up at the Ski Resort on Masik Pass and construction will be completed in late November."

The Masik ski resort "will begin formal operations in January next year and be open to domestic and foreign tourists," the Chinese media quoted Kim as saying.

The North Korean official spoke to the Chinese media while visiting an annual trade fair between Pyongyang and Beijing in the Chinese border city of Dandong.

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who studied in Switzerland and is believed to have skied in the Alps, ordered for the ski resort to be completed by the end of this year.

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