Recent footage filmed in May reveals that North Korea is constructing what could be the biggest shopping complex built in the country.
Satellite imagery shows the exterior of the building is nearly complete. Should it open in the near future it will be the second integrated shopping mall to open in Pyongyang this year.
“That is kind of a service complex; it’s under construction… kind of shops, restaurants and service facilities (will be in there),” a North Korean tour guide says in a video uploaded by Aram Pan, a Singaporean photographer who regularly visits the country.
Satellite imagery analysis indicates the new Service Complex is almost three times the length of the Mirae Shop and Health Complex, the luxurious twin shopping malls built about half a year ago in Pyongyang.
The new facility is located across from Rungrado, a Pyongyang islet famous for various kinds of entertainment facilities. It is also within walking distance of the Munsu Water Park and is about two kilometers north of the Juche Tower.
According to satellite imagery, the construction started sometime during the summer of 2014.
The process first started by excavating the 740-meter site, which was originally a park. Work on the concrete frame began sometime before September the same year.
“The exterior is very modern, and the building is located at an ideal place to attract the tourists,” Dr. Lim Eul-chul, professor at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University told NK News.
“The complex must be the biggest (in North Korea),” he continued “it is as big as the South Korean integrated shopping malls.”
Lim added there is a high chance that Kim Jong Un will use this building for state propaganda to portray it as a “role model of the civilized socialist nation.”
However, despite the grandeur, the complex has yet to be mentioned in state-run media outlets.
The media silence contrasts with Ryomyong Street, a residential area under construction which received almost daily coverage.
Lim said the lack of fanfare around the project might be rooted in the compound being the product of joint-venture, most likely with China.
“Compared to the Ryomyong Street where they are in charge of the whole process, Chinese money could have been invested in this massive and expensive building,” Lim told NK News.
Featured image: Google Earth
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