North Korean authorities are constructing new public buildings and houses near Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport, the DPRK’s Korean Central Television (KCTV) reported on Friday.
The airport, which was re-opened in 2015 after a complicated refurbishment process, sits about a 35-minute drive north of Pyongyang city and has long been surrounded by less developed apartments.
“A plan to make the area near Pyongyang International Airport more suitable to the 21st century has been carrying out,” a narrator on Friday’s news broadcast said.
Pictures on the KCTV broadcast showed construction workers and heavy lifting equipment working on numerous low-rise buildings and foundations at an unspecified location near the airport.
“Workers have prepared construction materials in advance and been guided to increase the speed and quality of their work so that they could work through the final stage of building houses and public buildings,” the narrator added.
But while the report provided few additional specifics about the construction efforts, one North Korea researcher familiar with the project was able to give further details on its scope.
“There is a plan to build 1000 new houses near there,” said Curtis Melvin, a researcher at the U.S.-Korea Institute in Washington DC.
“It is being run by the Coal Mining Ministry, National Tourism Secretariat, and the Chosun Oceanic Company.”
Melvin previously wrote in the Korean-language Radio Free Asia that construction at several locations surrounding the airport had been observed as far back as October 2016.
In addition to the modest-by-North Korean standards project surrounding the airport, authorities are also currently working on a huge scale tourist resort project adjacent to Wonsan’s recently refurbished Kalma airport.
Additional reporting by Tia Han
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCTV
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