Bungled high-rise reveals reality

first_imgNewsEconomy US dollar and Chinese reminbi plummet against North Korean won once again SHARE News Bungled high-rise reveals reality RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Kim Jong Un made an onsite visit in October 2014 to the completed residential apartments for faculty of Kim Chaek University of Technology. Image: Rodong Sinmun Despite seeing completion last October,following orders from leader Kim Jong Un, only half of the units of a majorapartment complex built near Pyongyang’s Taedong River are currently occupied.The buildings were specifically built for faculty of Kim Chaek University ofTechnology, but the 46-story apartments have elevators that cannot fullyfunction due to power shortages, giving people more reason to shy away from thecompound, a local Daily NK source reported. “There are two 46-floor buildings thatserve as apartments for employees from Kim Chaek University of Technology. Butboth only have people in at the 20th floor and below,” a source from South PyonganProvince told Daily NK on May 29th. “Even though the authorities are tellingthem to move in, they are not doing so because life would be inconvenient.” She explained that faculty members usuallyprefer the seventh and eighth floors; floors above the 20th level are “not evenup for consideration.” All are fully cognizant of the reality looming behindthe shiny facade of the facilities–elevators that exist but fail to function properly. Despite the free residence, “nobody wants to move in,” she asserted. “The Marshal (Kim Jong Un) maybe able to use high-story apartments like this for propaganda about his lovefor citizens, but he cannot do so through less visually attractive issues suchas resolving the power shortage. That’s why authorities simply focus onbuilding ostentatious structures like this,” she went on to explain.Construction for the apartments began inAugust of 2013 under orders from Kim Jong Un, according to the source. Kimdisplayed much interest in the buildings, inspecting the construction siteseveral times and chose it as his second destination to visit after reemergingfrom a 40-day period of seclusion last year. North Korean media reported on Kim JongUn’s attendance of the completion ceremony, claiming the complex embodies thefruit of love for his people. However, as the poor living conditions have ledto a low rate of residency, the project is a much-criticized topic amongresidents chewing the fat. “It should have been built to suit reality,” and,“It was too great a stretch from the beginning,” many have said, according tothe source. “The elevator runs only during breakfast,lunch, and dinner hours, so for long spans of time it will be impossible to getto the 40th floor,” the source said. “There isn’t even a place for people toput their bicycles, which are the most fundamental tools for people’slivelihoods.” In broader terms, ownership of a bicycle inNorth Korea is still seen in much the same way today as ownership of a privatecar in the developed world; this is to say that in the absence of legalobstacles it is within the reach for most families. They are considered aninvaluable property asset and having to cart them up and down countless floorsof stairs with nowhere to store them safely drives residents away from the facilities. “How does a high-story building make sensein this situation?” the source justifiably pointed out. Compounding already poor conditions is the lack of available tap water. Tenants frequently turn on the faucet with not so much as a drop trickling out.Pumping water is the only solution–a terribly inconvenient one, according tothe source, who added that everyone from ordinary residents to Party cadreshave shirked any expectations at this point for lofty-level residential units. The source suggested myopic, expedientplans as root for these–and most–problems besetting the nation. “Factories produce cement all day and theChosun People’s Army is mobilized for all construction efforts, but the statefails to consider electricity, water, and other essential components, so manyfeel that the Marshal seems unable to devise and implement long-term plans,” she concluded. By Daily NK – 2015.06.02 4:10pm Facebook Twitter News AvatarDaily NKQuestions or comments about this article? Contact us at [email protected] North Korea Market Price Update: June 8, 2021 (Rice and USD Exchange Rate Only) News Proposal to shift “general markets” to “specialized markets” finds little support among N. Korean leaderslast_img read more