SEOUL - A jointly run mountain resort by rivals North and South Korea has been visited by the Hermit State's top official to discussed efforts to unilaterally rebuild it and transform it into a cultural resort that will be envied by the whole world, the state media reported on Sunday.
Based on a number of experts, the Hermit State may be putting pressure on South Korea in order to profit from an economic partnership as the pandemic continuously aggravates the economic woes of North Korea.
According to ABC News, the Korean Central News Agency reported that Premier Kim Tok Hun shared during his trip to the Diamond Mountain resort that there is a need to stress the importance of building the tourist area as it will be their way of combining the national character and modernity while staying in good harmony with the natural scenery.
Based on a report from the KCNA, Kim mentioned that North Korea aims in turning the mountain area into one of the most well-known areas that serve the people and also a cultural resort that will be envied by the whole world.
The supreme leader also shared that he discussed the design of a world-class hotel, golf course, and skiing ground, along with other officials.
For about 10 years, North Korea had operated a joint tour program at the mountain together with the South before it was suspended after the death of a South Korean tourist there in 2008.
An estimated 2 million South Korean tourists had visited the resort, which is a rare source of foreign currency for the Hermit State.
Despite the improved relations in recent years, the two Koreas pushed to restart joint economic projects which include the Diamond Mountain tours, however, Seoul was eventually unable to do so without defying UN Sanctions imposed over the nuclear program of the North, AFP reported via MSN.
North Korea pushed late last year the destruction of South Korean-made hotels and other facilities at the resort and demanded Seoul to send workers to the site in clearing out their buildings.
The Supreme leader of the Hermit state even called the facilities of South Korea shabby and unpleasant-looking.
However, in January, North Korea postponed the demolition plans out of concern regarding the spread of the COVID-19.
On the other hand, the HErmit State stated that they have not found a single virus case, which is a claim that is disputed by a number of experts outside their border.
According to experts, a major outbreak in North Korea can be devastating as its health system remains fragile despite the current threats, The SF Gate reported.
The pandemic also caused massive damage to the economy of the North, together with the sanctions by the United Nations and a spate of natural disasters this summer.
A professor at Ewha University in Seoul, Leif-Eric Easley shared that the timing of the statement of North Korea on Sunday is less about tourism and more about political pressure.
He also added that by holding the hopes of Seoul for an engagement at risk they are pressuring the South as they are finding ways of resuming financial benefits for the North.