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N. Korea beefs up entertainment facilities under new leadership

All Headlines 17:05 September 13, 2012

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea, under a new leadership, seems to be concentrating its scare resources on beefing up amusement facilities, as the country tries to put on a new face following its regime change last year.

In July, the country opened the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground on Rungna islet in Pyongyang, with new leader Kim Jong-un paying three reported inspection visits to the complex with an amusement park, a golf course and other sports facilities, according to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

A swimming pool, an aquarium and other amusement rides will be added to the complex, which became partly operational in July, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, said Thursday.

A subway line connected to Rungna park is being extended to transport more park visitors, while a lift linking the park to major districts has been planned in order to attract more interest in the amusement park, the Korean-language newspaper said.

"The Rungna People's Pleasure Park is booming with a great number of visitors," the Thursday report said.

It also noted that major amusement parks and a swimming facility in Pyongyang and other areas are being renovated for modernization, while new amusement park projects are being planned outside of Pyongyang.

Eager for the string of amusement facility projects, the North has even set up a state-run agency in charge of managing such facilities across the country, the report also added.

The North says the recent entertainment projects reflect its efforts for people's welfare enhancement, but analysts have pointed out the projects are probably being promoted as contributions by the leader believed to be in his late 20s, who came to power after late leader Kim Jong-il's sudden death last December.

"This trend seems to be one of (policy results) of the new leadership, which is trying to build up social support by increasing the focus on younger generations," said Lee Yoo-young, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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