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View more articles by Colin Zwirko
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
Major progress has been made on construction of the largest vegetable greenhouse and tree nursery project currently ongoing in North Korea, ruling party daily the Rodong Sinmun reported on Thursday.
Multiple aspects of the Onpho Greenhouse Farm, located just outside Kyongsong on North Korea’s east coast, are in the final stages of construction, according to the report.
These include a tree nursery district, the building of around 300 greenhouses, and a residential complex comprising 51 two-to-three-story apartment buildings of varying sizes.
Images of the homes included in the Rodong report show that window panes have been installed in at least some of the units, while the article said final exterior and interior plastering and tiling was ongoing.
Google Earth satellite imagery taken in late July appears to show that the housing complex also includes a handful of public buildings and what may be a school and sports field.
Another image printed in the Rodong on Thursday (shown above) showed off the concrete frames and themed designs for a row of greenhouses, which are said to have been built across the complex in four different styles depending on the intended growing methods.
The article said the process of installing metal trusses over all of the greenhouses is currently underway, though it is unclear how many have been completed.
The tree nursery district was described in the article as being “90% complete” with “dozens” of facilities for seed production, testing, and others built.
Soldiers from the Korean People’s Army are now working on an outdoor sapling cultivation ground and greenhouses for the district, it said, praising their accomplishments despite “completely lacking” in technical capabilities.
The soldier-builders were said to have “planted tens of thousands of trees” and 150,000 square meters of grass since February, and to be producing “up to 100,000 soil cement blocks” per day for use in the project.
Previous state media reports have also described an “office building district” along the eastern edge of the zone, though it was not mentioned in the latest report.
The project lies on the grounds of an old military airfield and a small village, both removed for the new construction last fall after two visits from Kim Jong Un to reportedly guide the planning that summer.
The purpose of building the large complex — which covers nearly the same area as the nearby town of Kyongsong — is “to supply fresh vegetables to the people of North Hamgyong Province in all seasons,” Kim Jong Un reportedly said during one of his visits.
A deadline for the project has yet to be provided in state media.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun