North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed dissatisfaction during a recent inspection of the construction of Terminal 2 at Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Saturday.
Construction at the airport, which has been undergoing renovations since 2011, will now be halted while modified designs for the interior are prepared.
“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 it is the life and soul and core in architecture to preserve the Juche character and national identity,” Kim Jong Un said in comments carried by KCNA.
“It is necessary to finish the construction of the terminal to be an icon of Songun Korea, the face of the country and the gateway to Pyongyang…” Kim added.
Despite being unhappy with the new terminal, Kim was apparently pleased with the state of the airport’s new runway.
The airport field guidance visit can be seen as a continuation of two notable trends for Kim Jong Un, said John Grisafi, an NK News leadership analyst.
“Kim has occasionally given some harsh criticism to both the military and to organizations working on projects, which has been published in state media. It looks like they may be trying to prove that Kim is really out there giving hands-on leadership, fixing things, and giving orders, not just passively observing.”
The other evident trend is a big focus on construction following the collapse of an apartment tower in Pyongyang in May, Grisafi pointed out.
“The rate of Kim’s visits to construction projects, both ongoing and recently completed, roughly tripled after the accident in May.
“I think it’s quite clear that Pyongyang wants to show the leadership is very concerned with this issue and is really doing something to enforce standards in this industry and prevent another incident,” said Grisafi.
While former North Korean leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung were not known for publicly rebuking officials during guidance visits, Kim Jong Un has developed a reputation for publicly criticizing those involved in projects with which he is not satisfied.
Main photo: KCNA
Additional reporting: Chad O’Carroll
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