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N. Korea completes new power plant to tackle energy shortage

All Headlines 15:11 April 06, 2012

SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Friday that it has dedicated a new hydroelectric power plant in its central northern area bordering China, a project long touted as a symbol of its bid for the construction of a "strong and prosperous state."

"The construction of the Huichon Power Station has been completed in the DPRK," the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, adding that a dedication ceremony took place on Thursday.

DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The builders finished the construction of the power station in a matter of three years though it would have taken more than a decade at normal pace," the KCNA said.

Chronic shortage of electricity and other energy has long been one of the problems beleaguering the North's moribund economy, which has been under sanctions by the international community due to its nuclear and missile tests.

"The completion makes it possible to more satisfactorily settle the shortage of electricity in Pyongyang, protect cultivated land and residential areas along the River Chongchon from flooding and ensure an ample supply of industrial water to the industrial establishments in the Huichon and Namhung areas," KCNA said.

The plant, which has a generating capacity of 300,000 kilowatts, was launched by late leader Kim Jong-il, who reportedly visited the construction site eight times before his death last December to order an early completion of the project.

North Korea has designated 2012 as a moment in its history to rise as "a great, powerful and prosperous nation" -- a propaganda slogan that was spearheaded by Kim Jong-il.

New economic goals were announced in 2009 that called for undertaking major construction projects as well as modernizing farms and factories in time for the centennial birth of the communist country's founder, Kim Il-Sung, on April 15.

Earlier, North Korea announced plans to launch a satellite on the back of a long-range rocket as part of the April celebrations. The international community has urged Pyongyang to cancel the launch, warning that it would be seen as a violation of a ban on missile activity.

khj@yna.co.kr
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