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  • This massive show of North Korean force

  • is meant to inspire postcards,

  • not paranoia.

  • Troops and construction workers gathered in June

  • to celebrate a new, sprawling tourist destination on the coast of Wonsan,

  • about two and a half hours from Pyongyang.

  • But Wonsan is known for more than sand beaches

  • and sunshine.

  • The North Korean regime runs an air base in Wonsan

  • and it's from here that it planned

  • to launch missiles capable of striking U.S. military targets in Japan and Guam.

  • Live fire drills were conducted here as recently as 2017.

  • That didn't stop President Trump,

  • a former real estate developer,

  • from spotting the potential.

  • Whenever they're exploding their cannons into the ocean, right

  • I said, 'Boy, look at that view, wouldn't that make a great condo?'

  • And I explained, I said, 'You know, instead of doing that,

  • you could have the best hotels in the world right there.'”

  • Kim Jong-un was already on the case.

  • In his 2018 New Year's address,

  • he made those beach condos a priority.

  • Satellite images and other photos

  • reveal that the coastline has been under heavy construction

  • since January,

  • even at night.

  • We see how these two missile launchpads

  • have given way to rows upon rows of beachfront buildings.

  • Here on the left,

  • we see the beach lined with artillery

  • for military drill in 2017.

  • And on the right, is the same strip of land in 2018.

  • Construction of a tourism destination is in full swing.

  • The project has at least 150 buildings, some as high

  • as 12 stories.

  • Pyongyang said that the tourist zone

  • should attract at least one million visitors per year.

  • But in a country synonymous with prison camps, purges, and extreme poverty,

  • it is unclear where these tourists will come from.

  • Yet the hope seems to be that condos and cabanas

  • will get the cash flowing.

  • During a visit to North Korea in May,

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Americans

  • could help with that.

  • Here is what this will look like:

  • This will be Americans coming in

  • private sector Americans, not the U.S. taxpayer

  • coming in to help build out the energy grid,

  • to work with them to develop infrastructure.”

  • And that same week photos of Kim visiting the construction site were published.

  • The North Korea of flashy skyscrapers and shiny holiday resorts

  • that Trump showed Kim in this inspirational video at the Singapore summit

  • might still be a way off.

  • “A new world can begin today,

  • where the doors of opportunity are ready to be opened.”

  • But if Kim gives up bombs for beaches,

  • it might be time to reach for sunblock

  • instead of sanctions.

This massive show of North Korean force

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North Korea’s New Tourism Plans: Sunscreen, Not Sanctions | NYT News

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    Samuel posted on 2018/06/22
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