N. Korea marks late founder’s birth anniv. with completion of riverside apartments

SEOUL-- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a ceremony to celebrate the completion of a construction project of riverside apartments in Pyongyang ahead of its late founder's birth anniversary, state media said Thursday.

During the ceremony held the previous day, Kim said that he misses his late grandfather Kim Il-sung "more than ever" as the luxurious residential district has been built at a site related to him on the occasion of his birth anniversary, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The terraced apartments along the Pothong River running through Pyongyang is where a special residence for Kim Il-sung was located until the 1970s. The site is considered to be situated in one the best locations in Pyongyang.

"The Pothong Riverside Terraced Residential District, a new scenery of Pyongyang symbolizing the great era of Kim Jong-un, will shine as an edifice representing Korean-style civilization, demonstrating the people-first idea of the Party believing in the people as in Heaven and the indomitable spirit of socialist Korea which is making leaping progress on the great strength of self-reliance," the KCNA said.

Kim added that his grandfather would have been "satisfied to see the cozy dwellings built for the patriots and persons of merit."

At the ceremony, Kim also gifted a riverside flat to Ri Chun-hee, North Korea's most famous anchor, known for her dramatic and effusive reporting style, at the state-run Korean Central Television.

Ri, who has received great acclaim from the past, was given a "marvelous dwelling house" in Block No. 7 of the Kyongrudong residential district.

"Hearing her words in joy, the General Secretary said it is the sincerity of the Party that there is nothing to spare for the treasures of the country like her who has worked as a revolutionary announcer for the Party for more than 50 years since her girlhood," the KCNA said.

Earlier this week, Kim attended a ceremony marking the completion of 10,000 apartments in the Songsin and Songhwa areas of Pyongyang as part of his five-year project to build 50,000 apartments in the capital to resolve housing problems.

The North's latest move comes in an apparent effort to drum up public support ahead of the 110th birthday of the late Kim Il-sung on Friday. The North usually commemorates every fifth and 10th anniversary of such major events with mass rallies or military parades.

Kim has carried out seven known rounds of field inspection in the economic sector this year, all of which were related to construction, an official at Seoul's unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs told reporters.

Kim appears to be underlining the country's economic achievements through the major housing projects and using the celebrations as opportunities to work up a festive mood ahead of his grandfather's birth anniversary, the official said.

During the party congress in January last year, Kim admitted to the failure of his five-year economic plan and unveiled a new development scheme amid crippling sanctions, including the construction of new houses in Pyongyang.

Source: Yonhap News Agency