North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiled next to his wife Ri Sol Ju as he gave ‘field guidance’ at the new terminal of Pyongyang International Airport two weeks ago but instead of being celebrated by the ruthless dictator, he has already executed the airport’s designer weeks before due to ‘defects’ in the design.
Executions are a grim fact of life in North Korea, where senior officials can be killed for offences as minor as watching South Korean TV programs.
While North Korean state media dedicated three pages of Thursday’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper to images of leader Kim and his wife inspecting restaurants, shops and waiting areas in a large, glass-fronted terminal building airport design chief Ma Won Chun disappeared late last year.
It is believed he was executed after Kim voiced his dissatisfaction with the airport, according to reports which listed his sentence as being for ‘corrupt practices and failure to follow orders.’
Kim Jong Un issued a statement in which he said that
Defects were manifested in the last phase of the construction of the Terminal 2 because the designers failed to bear in mind the party’s idea of architectural beauty that is the life and soul and core in architecture to preserve the character and national identity.
It is necessary to finish the construction of the terminal to be an icon of Korea, the face of the country and the gateway to Pyongyang.
As we reported earlier, Kim Jong-un has ordered that North Korea be made into a tourist destination and the new Pyongyang airport is seen a cornerstone of this strategy.
It remains to be seen whether the grim opening of the airport will draw tourists in the numbers that the dictator hopes for.