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Kim unveils a ‘modern mountaneous city’

North Korea is projecting Samjiyon as a ‘socialist utopia’ with all latest amenities

North Korea has celebrated the completion of leader Kim Jong-un’s signature construction project, a new city near the sacred mountain where his family claims its roots, with state media on Tuesday calling it the “epitome of modern civilisation”.

A massive celebration involving fireworks was held at the city near Mount Paektu on Monday, the official KCNA news agency said.

The Rodong Sinmun, a ruling party mouthpiece, ran photos of Mr. Kim smiling as he cut a ribbon at the ceremony attended by thousands of people, while state television showed beige, green and purple buildings covered in snow.

The city named Samjiyon is envisaged as what North Korea calls a “socialist utopia” with new apartments, hotels, a ski resort and commercial, cultural and medical facilities.

The town “has turned into an example of a mountainous modern city under socialism, an epitome of modern civilisation,” KCNA said.

KCNA said it could accommodate 4,000 families and has 380 blocks of public and industrial buildings in “hundreds of hectares”.

The city is one of the largest economic initiatives Mr. Kim has launched as part of his drive for a “self-reliant economy, as Pyongyang calls for Washington to lift economic sanctions in their denuclearisation talks. But its construction was delayed chiefly due to shortages in construction materials and labour as a result of U.S. sanctions.

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