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N.K. leader visits Yangdok spa resort for second time in 3 weeks

All Headlines 11:49 November 15, 2019

SEOUL, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a spa resort in the country's central region for the second time in about three weeks, state media said Friday, in a trip apparently intended to highlight his strong determination to develop the country's tourism industry without outside help.

Kim "inspected Yangdok Hot Spring Resort under construction that nears completion," according to the Korean Central News Agency. State media previously reported that he made a trip there on Oct. 25.

"He expressed satisfaction over the fact that the soldier-builders are completing all the constructions in qualitative way, including places for medical treatment and recuperation and ski ground by correcting the mistakes indicated last time and delicately conducting the last stage work of the construction," the KCNA said.

Kim urged stepped-up efforts to prevent the "slightest defect" before its completion, it added.

He has visited the spa resort four times this year, apparently highlighting his strong determination to build a competitive tourism industry as part of self-reliance efforts in the face of crippling global sanctions.

Last month, the North Korean leader toured the Mount Kumgang resort and ordered the removal of South Korean-built facilities constructed through an inter-Korean agreement and the building of the North's own international tourist zone in their stead. The order was seen as an apparent expression of his frustration with the protracted suspension of the joint tour project.

South Korea has called for face-to-face talks and proposed sending an inspection team to the mountain, but the North has rejected the offers.

On Friday, the North's state media said that Pyongyang sent an ultimatum to South Korea earlier this week that it will unilaterally remove the South-built facilities from the mountain unless Seoul tears them down on its own.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) visits the construction site of a hot spring resort nearing completion in Yangdok in the North's South Pyongan Province, in this photo provided by the North's official Korean Central News Agency on Nov. 15, 2019. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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